Dethroned and imprisoned former Savior leader Negan will be “very different” in The Walking Dead season 9, according to stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Norman Reedus.
“It’s gonna be Negan fighting some inner demons. I think being locked up doesn’t suit him very well, which I think is probably Rick and everyone’s plan to begin with,” Morgan told Variety during San Diego Comic-Con.
“And I think Negan is having to take a good long, hard look in the mirror and maybe not enjoying what he’s seeing, and certainly not enjoying jail very much. So we’re definitely going to see a different side to Negan this year.”
Reedus backed up the Negan actor, promising Morgan’s jail-set scenes make for enticing television. “I will say that I saw some cell scenes this year, and Jeffrey killed it,” Reedus said. “It was a very different Negan, like he’s saying.”
Morgan, who participated in The Walking Dead’s Hall H Comic-Con panel with co-stars Reedus, Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, and Lauren Cohan, teased an all-new side of the ever-unfolding Negan — and revealed he shared scenes with characters Negan has had little face time with, suggesting encounters with Gurira’s Michonne and Cohan’s Maggie.
“It’s a different year, I think a different side of Negan. I think we’ve gotten to see some different sides, and little hints of different sides, but this year, just from the trailer we see he’s in a bit of a predicament,” Morgan said.
“He’s having to face some stuff, I think internally, as well as outside his jail, that he’s never had to face before. So we’re gonna see some different sides. And in saying that, Negan’s also getting an opportunity to interact with some people that are up on this stage that he hasn’t really had the chance to interact with before, which I think has been super fun for myself and Negan.”
In Robert Kirkman’s comic book series, the confined Negan devilishly enjoyed visits to his cell from Rick Grimes and son Carl — but with Carl’s TV counterpart long dead and Lincoln’s Rick on his way out, expect some of those conversations to be shifted to other characters.
“I do like my visiting hours. The thing with Negan, as we all know, is he likes to talk. So it’s important that people come and visit him,” Morgan said. “As an actor, it’s been okay. But as the character, I could be itching to get the hell out of there. I think he’s there to kind of stir things up a little bit.”
Negan could find himself confronted by widowed Hilltop leader Maggie, still seeking justice for the murder of husband Glenn at Negan’s hands — well, barbwire-wrapped baseball bat — before Cohan similarly makes her own exit just six episodes into season 9.
Speaking to People, Cohan didn’t rule out a future return to the series and said Maggie’s story this season is left “open-ended.”
The Walking Dead season 9 premieres Sunday, October 7 on AMC.