The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan is “still holding out” for his own spinoff movie exploring Negan’s backstory, inspired by creator Robert Kirkman’s comic book origin story Here’s Negan. In 2018, Morgan revealed he’s had talks with TWD chief content officer Scott Gimple as far back as 2016 — the same year Morgan first donned Negan’s leather jacket and barbwire-wrapped baseball bat — pressing for a Negan-centric TV series or movie project exploring his beginnings in the zombie apocalypse as a high school gym teacher-turned-Savior leader. Gimple and Kirkman are now developing the first Walking Dead movie series starring Negan’s once archfoe Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), and Morgan hopes TWD Universe will take a swing at a possible Negan movie:
“Well yeah. Not sure what the deal is with those films though,” Morgan wrote on Twitter when asked if he’d join the still-untitled Walking Dead movies to reunite with Lincoln. “Waiting like you to hear about ole Ricky Grimes movie.”
“I have my own thing for POSSIBLE films,” Morgan added. “I’m still holding out for negan story... based on @RobertKirkman graphic novel. Id LOVE to film that. LOVE LOVE LOVE.”
During a TWD set visit in 2018, Morgan told ComicBook.com a Negan prequel “could be an exciting opportunity to tell that story.” Kirkman revealed Negan’s backstory outside the mainline Walking Dead comic book in a 16-part prequel miniseries later collected as Here’s Negan.
Pieces of Negan’s background have made it into the mothership series, revealed through conversations with Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and other characters. “There’s been pieces that he’s been able to kind of throw out — we never have done the episode of how Negan became Negan, unfortunately — and maybe we will, I don’t know,” Morgan said during an October convention appearance.
For Morgan, Negan’s history would be better explored somewhere outside the main show:
“Robert Kirkman has done a little bit of thought on the Negan pre-zombie apocalypse, and I would be more than happy to see that,” he told FANDOM in 2018. “I would like to take part in some filming of that. I think that would help explain this character a great deal. Because, unfortunately, the way things go with so many characters and storylines [on the show], we don’t see enough — and I think that that is needed, especially when you have a character like Negan.”
Gimple has since detailed plans for numerous specials, miniseries and other shorter length series as TWD Universe expands on both the small and big screen. The former showrunner plans to tell different stories in different formats outside the traditional 16-episode seasons of the main show and spinoff Fear the Walking Dead.
On the television side of things, “We do want to do these smaller things that are completely their own thing, and then do something else,” Gimple told The Hollywood Reporter. “Some stuff could be three episodes, some stuff could be six episodes, some stuff could be 12 or 16 [episodes].”
Negan isn't the only character who could potentially headline their own project: in 2018, Gimple teased ambitious plans involving characters both old and new.
“I’m talking about different ways to tell stories, possibly with characters we know and possibly with characters we don’t. We’re figuring it all out right now but there’s a ton of stuff that I want to dive into,” he told THR. “It’s us organizing it and deciding how to do it, how it all works together. We really have a plan that goes into the future. It’s pretty exciting right now.”