The Walking Dead Wanted Dwight to Return in “Here’s Negan”

The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang reveals original plans for Season 10 prequel episode "Here's Negan" had Dwight (Austin Amelio) appear opposite future Savior leader Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Spoilers for "Here's Negan." Sunday's season finale instead brings back another Savior, Laura (Lindsley Register), one of Negan's future lieutenants who gives him the baseball bat that he ultimately named after his late wife Lucille (Hilarie Burton Morgan). Because Dwight and his wife Sherry (played in the show by Christine Evangelista) both appear in the comic book origin story Here's Negan, Kang envisioned having Dwight appear on The Walking Dead for the first time since Season 8.

"We wanted to bring back somebody that was a former Savior," Kang told Entertainment Weekly. "And this is no knock against our Laura, we love that actor and she's wonderful, and it worked out great. But our original desire was to get Dwight because obviously, Dwight is who appears in the 'Here's Negan' comic."

After Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) defeated Negan to end the Savior war in Season 8, Daryl (Norman Reedus) exiled Dwight from Virginia. The ex-Savior went off to find Sherry, a search that brought him out west to Texas-set spin-off Fear the Walking Dead.

Because both shows suffered filming delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, "The scheduling did not work with Fear the Walking Dead because usually, we're not on the exact same filming schedule," Kang said. "But because COVID pushed everything, it wouldn't have worked to bring him over."

"We were like, 'Okay, well let's think about our other Saviors and who is a sympathetic former Savior," Kang added. "And most of them are not really, but Laura was always a Savior that you go, like, 'She doesn't seem that bad.' And then she joined our heroes until Beta killed her." (Laura died in Season 10 Episode 10, "Stalker.")

In the show's version of Here's Negan, the titular character embarks on a six-week search to find chemotherapy drugs for Lucille. He tries to rob Franklin (Miles Mussenden) and his daughter Laura, who want to help people with their mobile medical clinic some seven months into the zombie apocalypse.

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"[Episode writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick] thought, 'Well wouldn't it be interesting if we did it this way and she's with this medical group?' Because for the people who know the comic, Lucille basically died almost right away in the apocalypse, so there wasn't this whole story about how she had to get chemo during the beginning part of the apocalypse," Kang explained. "All of that is original to our show, but she just seemed like the right person that fits that story where you'd believe that she had a benign start to the apocalypse, and basically Negan admired her for her strength, and that's how she came to cross with him."

The Walking Dead's Final Season premieres August 22 on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD.