Jeffrey Dean Morgan is currently shooting the final two episodes of “The Walking Dead,” but he still thinks about his divisive entry into the series almost six years ago.
“I wouldn’t have killed Glenn,” Morgan said when Insider asked if there was anything that he wished would’ve played out differently with his character, Negan, on AMC’s long-running apocalyptic drama.
“Yeah. That was probably a bad decision,” Morgan added with a half-smile, referring to the brutal killing of fan-favorite Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) at his character’s hands.
Morgan was over the moon to join ‘The Walking Dead’
No one may have been more excited to join “TWD” as the loud-mouthed, brash antithesis to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) than Morgan.
The actor eagerly shared how he was cast on the series at PasCon, a “Supernatural” convention in Pasadena, California, in 2015. When he was offered the role with very few details, he immediately guessed it was Negan and jumped at the opportunity to play the part.
At the time, Morgan said he was drawn to the role because he had “become accustomed to playing sort of a good guy” with “a rough exterior, but a heart of gold in there somewhere.”
Morgan saw Negan as a new challenge.
“Is there any heart in Negan?” Morgan said at the time. “I look at that as a challenge as an actor and that’s the kind of thing that I embrace and really look forward to.”
Negan’s entry onto ‘TWD’ didn’t go the way Morgan and viewers likely envisioned
When Negan first appeared on 2016’s season six finale, he killed a mystery character off-screen. In the comics, it was Glenn who died.
Months later, on the season seven premiere, fans learned that the show pivoted from the comics. Negan decided to kill Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) instead, viewing him as a formidable threat.
Glenn was safe — for a moment.
After an outburst from Daryl (Norman Reedus), Negan quickly took a prized weapon, a baseball bat, and killed Glenn as punishment randomly.
Negan didn’t simply hit Glenn. He wailed on him, bashing his head in relentlessly — almost gleefully — with the bat in front of Rick and the group of survivors that fans had followed for years.
Though it was a straight adaptation from the comics, the scene didn’t play out well with viewers.
When Insider told Morgan that it probably wasn’t Glenn’s death that so much bothered viewers as opposed to the brutality of it, he pointed to the director of the episode, Greg Nicotero, who’s also “TWD’s” executive producer.
“Yeah, I didn’t film it. You talk to Nicotero about that,” Morgan said.
Morgan has since been vocal in how Negan is handled on ‘TWD’
Thinking about it a bit more, Morgan said, “I think that we have to kind of go with what we are given and [what] we all have — not that I haven’t fought with writers over what the hell I have to do, but, you know — in the end, it is what it is.”
Last August, Morgan revealed on “TWD” aftershow, “Talking Dead,” that he called showrunner Angela Kang when he learned about two potentially controversial moments between Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Glenn’s widow, and Negan during season 11, which premiered last year. One scene involved Negan leaving Maggie for dead.
“I had talked to Lauren and I had talked to Norm [Reedus] and then I called Angela and I was like, ‘This is a horrible idea. Any good that we have done is immediately gone,'” Morgan said.
In the past few seasons, Negan’s undergone a bit of a reinvention on the show to be more accepted by the group and fans.
After dominating the show for two seasons straight, he sat things out for a bit as the show’s focus recentered on Daryl, Carol, Michonne, and the rest of the ensemble cast. He became a more central figure on the show again late in season nine and throughout season 10 as he put his life on the line for Judith (Cailey Fleming) and Alexandria by killing the leader of a group of villains, The Whisperers.
Currently, Negan’s still seen as a bit of an outcast by the Alexandrians and is constantly living life looking over his shoulder now that a (rightfully) distrustful Maggie is back in the picture. Will Maggie finally get revenge on the man who altered her life and left her son fatherless?