The Walking Dead executive producer Scott Gimple says that "Here's Negan," a prequel that flashes back to the start of the zombie apocalypse with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), is "one of the most brilliant episodes" in the show's 10-year history. The Negan origin story, one of the six all-new bonus episodes extending season 10 into 2021, airs as part of a mini-season filmed across a six-week shoot in Georgia amid the coronavirus pandemic. Joining Morgan in "Here's Negan" is guest star Hilarie Burton Morgan, the actor's real-life wife, who plays Negan's cancer-stricken spouse Lucille in her first appearance on The Walking Dead.
"If anybody saw that episode, they wouldn't think that because it's one of the most brilliant episodes that the show has done... This got accelerated. This was something we were looking at, but it's going to be an amazing episode," said Gimple, who served as showrunner when Morgan's Negan joined The Walking Dead in its sixth season finale. "I'm so proud of everybody who worked on that one. I'm proud of the entire season. They shot six episodes in six weeks."
He continued, "I think The Walking Dead, Angela [Kang, showrunner], and the writers, the producers, crew, the cast did an amazing job, putting those all together."
"Here's Negan" takes a swing at the 16-chapter comic book origin story of the same name from Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard, who first debuted the character together in the pages of The Walking Dead issue #100. The prequel flashes back to just before the onset of the zombie apocalypse and follows Negan, a foul-mouthed school gym teacher, as he becomes the baseball bat-bashing leader of the Saviors.
In the episode, "Carol (Melissa McBride) takes Negan on a journey, hoping to minimize the increasing tension. Negan reflects on the events that led him to this point and comes to a conclusion about his future."
Episode 1022 is directed by Laura Belsey, who was behind the camera on season 9 episode "The Calm Before" — which ends with Daryl (Norman Reedus) and other characters discovering the Whisperer border decorated with decapitated heads — and the Negan-centric season 10 episode "What It Always Is." The episode is scripted by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, who has written for The Walking Dead on and off since its second season in 2011.