The Walking Dead’s family is not necessarily tearing itself apart in Season Nine, but they’re not seeing eye to eye, either. In the wake of Rick’s decision to preserve Negan’s life in the Season Eight finale, Maggie is strongly in disagreement with the call heading into the new episodes. Such a difference in perspective will have Rick and Maggie’s relationship a bit strained.
“We’re definitely going to see us in disagreement, but we are still a family,” Cohan said. “But we definitely feel very differently about this. It’s definitely been a pleasure for all of us to work together in pretty deep, pretty involved scenes. We haven’t all gotten a chance to do that.”
That said, executive producer and director Greg Nicotero seems to be teasing an arc of redemption for Negan — which is something fans of Robert Kirkman’s comics are familiar with. “I think there is,” Nicotero said. “I can’t say that we’ve shot anything near like that, but I think there is. We’re going to find out a very different side of Negan quickly as season nine starts. And there’s been a big kind of growing period of him trying to figure out how to not go crazy really in the position that he’s been in.”
Jeffrey Dean Morgan agrees with Nicotero’s sentiments, so much so that the new arc for his villainous character was an acting challenge in Season Nine. “It’s been a really great challenge and really great fun as an actor,” Morgan said. “I felt like maybe I was stuck in a rut, a little bit. I needed Negan to move on and we needed to see a different side of him. I think, be careful what you wish for, because now there is a different side of Negan that is front and center. Negan is having a hard time with what he is seeing in himself and these guys are really having a good time.”
Morgan is not the only actor having a good time on set and pouring everything out in front of the camera this year in an effort to give Lincoln a proper sendoff. “It’s some of the best work I think anybody on the show has done,” Morgan said. “Especially with Andy leaving, everyone is just stepping it up. That goes from the writing on down to the actors to the crew. There’s a new vitality to the show, it feels like, and a lot of it has to do with Andy and us just keeping him alive on set.”