A plot synopsis for one of The Walking Dead's upcoming season 10 bonus episodes hints at Negan getting a comics-like exit from the story.
The Walking Dead season 10 story details may have dropped a hint about Negan’s exit. After COVID-related delays changed the show’s season 10 finale plans, TWD is set to drop six bonus episodes that extend the tenth season. It was just announced that those extra Walking Dead episodes will arrive on AMC beginning on February 28, 2021.
While TWD is known for staging large-scale zombie apocalypse mayhem, the six bonus episodes will by necessity be smaller and more character-driven, as the show is forced to scale back cast and crew sizes due to COVID restrictions. Indeed it was previously revealed that one of these character-focused episodes will revolve around Maggie, while another sends Aaron and Gabriel on an adventure involving guest star Robert Patrick. As AMC just announced, another of the episodes will show what Daryl did during his long period of self-imposed exile after Rick’s disappearance, while another shows what happened to Eugene’s group after being captured at the end of the season 10 finale.
But for fans of The Walking Dead and especially fans of Negan, the episode focusing on the former Big Bad is probably the most exciting of all the bonus installments. The last of the six set to be released (via AMC), this Negan-centric episode’s synopsis says “Carol takes Negan on a journey, hoping to minimize the increasing tension.” Carol and Negan of course became unlikely allies in season 10, when he went on his mission to kill Alpha on her behalf. This “journey” with Carol is what sets Negan to reflecting on his past, which is where his dead wife Lucille (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s real-life wife Hilarie Burton) enters the picture, obviously in flashback form. The synopsis then teases that Negan “comes to a conclusion about his future,” a hint that the long-time character may in fact be set to exit the show.
As fans of the Walking Dead comics know, Negan’s journey in the pages of Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore’s books ends when he is granted his freedom, is spared by a vengeful Maggie (who of course hates him for killing Glenn), renounces his violent ways with the symbolic destruction of “Lucille 2” and heads into exile. On the show, Negan has already been given his freedom, but remains part of the action even though there are many who would prefer he be back in his cell. The line in the synopsis about Negan coming to a conclusion about his future however sounds like an echo of the comic book storyline, when he finally made peace with his past deeds and exited the story. If the show intends to reproduce the comic storyline, there should be a scene where Maggie faces off against him, but ultimately refuses to kill him despite his pleading for her to end his misery. Indeed, another bonus episode sees Maggie and Negan coming face to face, as was revealed in a recent behind-the-scenes video.
It remains to be seen exactly what The Walking Dead does with Negan in his episode, but there is a strong hint in the synopsis that Negan’s arc on the show is drawing to an end. Of course, season 11 is set to be the final season of the show anyway, so some Negan resolution is coming regardless. As for Negan getting a spinoff, Morgan says it’s still possible, but frankly the best move would be to give the character a proper send-off after a confrontation with Maggie and not revisit him again. The emotional power of Maggie finally facing Negan with a chance to kill him would make for a great moment, and it would be a shame to see The Walking Dead deprive fans of such a showdown. After that, Negan should be allowed to simply vanish as he does in the books.