The Walking Dead Showrunner Hints at Negan Origin Story in New Season 10 Episodes
Here's Negan! Showrunner Angela Kang hints The Walking Dead will take a swing at Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) untold origin story in the new season 10 episodes taking "deep dives" into its cast of characters. Kang, who leads the writers' room that designed these now-filming episodes for safe shooting during COVID-19, previously revealed the bonus episodes would show us "where people have been in the past" and fill in gaps in the road to the final season. Teasing the bonus episodes during a Walking Dead showrunners virtual summit, Kang referenced one of the few comic book stories not yet brought to life on The Walking Dead:
Instead of large scale scenes with hundreds of zombie extras, Kang said, "We've chosen to go in the other version of the Walking Dead tradition, which is dive really deeply into these really cool character stories."
"I think that that is also The Walking Dead, and so hopefully people will enjoy stuff like that," Kang said. "We've got, definitely, a story I think a lot of comic book fans have been waiting for for a long time. And I love the script, and so we'll get to tease things in a different way."
There have been "limitations" brought on by the health and safety protocols in place because of the pandemic — Daryl Dixon actor Norman Reedus already detailed the struggles of shooting during COVID-19 — but these character-focused episodes made for "a really fun creative challenge at the same time."
The Walking Dead comic book left Negan's backstory mostly untold until creator Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard revealed the villain's origins in Here's Negan, a 16-chapter miniseries now collected in a single volume. The story, which is small in scope and scale, takes place at the onset of the zombie apocalypse and documents Negan's transformation from mourning husband to a hardened survivor and eventual leader of the Saviors.
On the television show, Negan has so far only opened up about his past when confiding in characters like Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Alpha (Samantha Morton) of the Whisperers.
Morgan, who debuted as the character in the season 6 finale in 2016, has for years urged executive producer and TWD chief content officer Scott Gimple to bring Negan's past to life in live-action. In July, Morgan said he wishes to film Negan movies pulling from Here's Negan and the one-shot comic book Negan Lives, which takes place after Negan's exile from The Walking Dead.
"I'm very lucky to play him because he's become so well-rounded, and this kind of redemption arc that he's been on has been very interesting to play. And I think the Negan Lives comic book kind of carries that on," Morgan said during a virtual Walking Dead Family Hangout over the summer. "It's a great little story, it's just a little slice of a day in the life of [Negan]. It's great, and I would love to. I always wanted to film that and then the prequel to Negan, there's a comic book for that as well. I'd love to do that."
He added, "I don't know if we're ever going to get to it — there's so much we don't know about him — but keep writing him, Kirkman, and maybe we'll get to it eventually because they're great."
The Walking Dead returns with six new episodes in early 2021 on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.