Negan actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan says he fought to cut that brutal Glenn line from The Walking Dead season 11 premiere. The end is coming for AMC’s long-running drama set after the zombie apocalypse. But at least the show is going out with a bang, as its final season will be its longest, running for a su
That final season for The Walking Dead definitely got off to an interesting start Sunday night on AMC. Among other things, fans learned that zombies sometimes sleep. Audiences also learned more about the inner-workings of The Commonwealth, a community run by steely bureaucrats and soldiers in futuristic armor. But the big development was of course the growing tension between Negan and Maggie, whose simmering animosity came to a head as Negan suspected Maggie of dragging him off on a mission with the intent of killing him. In a heated confrontation, Negan defended himself by saying he would not be put down like a dog “like Glenn was,” a reference of course to his own brutal murder of Maggie’s husband in The Walking Dead season 7.
Negan’s Glenn remark was surely meant to shock Maggie and the rest of his companions as well as the audience. As it turns out, the line actually shocked actor Morgan, who initially told TWD showrunner Angela Kang he did not want to say it. But Morgan ultimately relented and said the line, along with several other variations, on the day the scene was shot. In the end, Morgan came to realize the line was right – even if it was very wrong. He told EW:
I fought it! That’s the one line that I immediately called [showrunner Angela Kang] and I was like, “I can’t say it. I can’t f—ing bring up Glenn’s name here.” And I was like, “Any goodwill that Negan has gotten on his side is going to go out the window the minute I say Glenn.” I tried to nix the line completely. I didn’t think it was necessary. And I thought, for sure, they would let me change it. And so I filmed it three or four different ways. I tried everything else. I said, “Your husband” and other stuff. but ultimately it was like, “Well, let’s just try the f—ing Glenn line.” And then, of course, when I saw the cut, I was like, “Oh, f—ers!” [Laughs] They had to put it in.
Morgan went on to say that he “gets it” that the line was written precisely to get such a strong reaction. He also said he understands that, no matter what Negan does to prove he’s good now – including save everyone by killing Whisperers leader Alpha – the bad Negan who bashed Glenn’s head in with Lucille is still inside him.
Negan’s Glenn line of course served a greater purpose than just shocking the audience. It also helped stoke the flames of animosity between Negan and Maggie, setting up a moment later in the episode when Negan literally stands there doing nothing while Maggie slips from the back of a subway train and possibly into the clutches of Walkers. In Negan’s mind here, he’s simply letting the Walkers take care of his problem for him by killing Maggie before she can kill him, a very Negan-like calculation.
Of course it remains to be seen if Maggie really is dead or the The Walking Dead is in the middle of pulling one of its famous fakeouts. Assuming Maggie does survive, it will be interesting to see what happens next as tensions mount within the group. Maggie would certainly be justified if she now lost all trust in Negan and simply put him down like a dog. However, the group does still need him for the time-being, as he’s acting as their tour guide in Washington D.C.. But at what point does Negan’s usefulness to the group become overshadowed by the simple fact that on some level he’s still the same old Negan and therefore incredibly dangerous? Fans will find out more as The Walking Dead season 11 continues on.