The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays a mostly reformed Negan, says Season 10 is the "best stuff I've gotten to do on the show." The zombie drama's next episode, "What It Always Is," will be Negan-centric as it explores where he's headed next after being broken out of jail by fanboy accomplice Brandon (Blaine Kern III). If The Walking Dead follows the comics, a meeting between Negan and the Whisperers is close behind: Negan just might come face-to-face with the walker skin-wearing Whisperers, commanded by the psychopathic Alpha (Samantha Morton) and her viciously loyal number two Beta (Ryan Hurst).
"It was a long year. About ten years in show time. It was very nice for Negan to get out, stretch his legs, get some fresh air … but I think it was good for everyone to have Negan on ice," Morgan told The Hollywood Reporter of Negan's years-long solitary confinement in Season 9, where he rarely stepped foot out of his cell.
"I think it was good for the audience to see this guy who they mostly hated, and see a different side of him, to see him tortured, wanting to give up on life, ready to die at the hand of Maggie. Then there was a sort of redemption with Judith, who brought out a side of him that no one else has," Morgan continued. "Negan's suddenly turned into a three-dimensional character. Taking that into this year is really fun. I'm thrilled with what the story has done for me this year. I think the buildup and the foundation from the last couple of years is great. We have this fleshed-out character now. This year is going to be a lot of fun for the audience, and for me. I'm having a blast. I think it's the best stuff I've gotten to do on the show."
Morgan recently admitted Negan was "one-dimensional" in his earlier seasons, but the character has undergone a continuing transformation under Seasons 9 & 10 showrunner Angela Kang. Negan's change has been helped along through a friendship with Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming) and Morgan's ability to appear opposite characters like Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Aaron (Ross Marquand) and ex-Whisperer Lydia (Cassady McClincy).
And, soon, Morgan will appear opposite friend Ryan Hurst when Negan encounters the Whisperers.
"We're going to have some fun with Negan, so we'll really get to see [Jeffrey Dean Morgan] doing his thing. I don't want to give too much away there, but there's some of my favorite stuff with him in the next episode," Kang told EW ahead of episode 10x05. "And then we'll also be following stories of some of our other folks that we've been tracking along all of this. We'll see Daryl and the Hilltoppers trying to figure some things out as well. I'm excited for people to watch it."