Will a friendship between Daryl (Norman Reedus) and a reformed Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) ever be possible on The Walking Dead? The former enemies were forced to team up when Daryl was captured by Whisperers in Season 10 episode 14, "Look at the Flowers," where Daryl learned it was best friend Carol (Melissa McBride) who freed Negan from jail when conspiring to murder Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton). It took Negan just three days to infiltrate the enemy group and get close enough to Alpha to slit her throat, allowing Negan his freedom just before Alexandria was forced to evacuate under threat from Beta's (Ryan Hurst) massive walker horde.
"Negan still wants redemption, he wants to be part of the community," showrunner Angela Kang says in a behind-the-scenes video from Season 10. "He did all of this so that he could have that." Adds Morgan, the long-jailed former Savior leader is "ready to open up a new chapter in the book of Negan."
When stray Whisperers identified Negan as the new Alpha, handing him a shotgun and allowing him the opportunity for revenge after being captured by Daryl, Negan rejected that position of power and instead helped Daryl escape. But Daryl might never be able to look past the murders of Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun), who were killed before Daryl was taken prisoner at Negan's Sanctuary some eight years earlier.
"I don't think Daryl will ever really be able to look at Negan, [and] be able to fully say, 'He's cool,'" says executive producer Denise Huth. "But it is a moment for Daryl to see, 'Okay, he did the right thing.'"
Daryl once conspired with Glenn's widow Maggie (Lauren Cohan) to murder Negan after Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) made the decision to keep him alive, making for a "complicated relationship" between Daryl and Negan.
"I think there's a little bit of a thaw, but I don't think he really loves this guy yet. I don't know that he totally trusts him," Kang said in a previous interview. "He was very aware that Negan was having maybe a bit too much fun once he got the gun back from the Whisperers, and Negan is complicated, and Negan killed people that mattered a lot to Daryl. For Daryl, the loss of Glenn and Abraham was huge for him, and all these people that died in that war, and I don't think that that's something that's easily left behind."
"But Daryl’s a pretty pragmatic guy and he sees this guy — he did do some stuff that was good, and so I don't think that that's lost on Daryl," Kang continued. "But at the same time, is he ready to call this guy his best friend? I don't think so."0comments
Negan might once again have an opportunity to prove his worth in the coming season finale, "A Certain Doom," which sees the survivors attempt a desperate escape from the abandoned hospital tower surrounded by Beta's walker horde.
The Walking Dead next airs “A Certain Doom” as a special episode later this year. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.