The Walking Dead returns to the airwaves in only a few more days, and fans who have been waiting since April for more of Negan will finally get to see him back in action. We've heard a lot over hiatus about what we can expect from Negan in the future of the series, but we haven't heard too much about what we'll discover about his past. Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan has some thoughts about a possible prequel series to delve into the Negan backstory, saying this:
It would be fun to do a prequel to who Negan was. I know [creator Robert Kirkman] has been writing this before-we-know-Negan graphic novel. He's releasing little pieces of it now.
There aren't many actors who could talk about a prequel for their character when their character has only actually appeared in one episode so far without sounding silly, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan is definitely one of them. He made one hell of an entrance as Negan in the Walking Dead's Season 6 finale, and he signed on as a regular for Season 7. Throw in the fact that Negan has been one of the most highly-anticipated comic characters from the very beginning of the show, and Negan practically seems destined for a prequel series. He's a huge villain in Robert Kirkman's graphic novels. If the Governor could get a couple of episodes about his backstory, why can't Negan get a prequel?
We already know at least a little bit about what the Negan of Robert Kirkman's comics was up to before the zombie apocalypse. According to Kirkman's Here's Negan story, Negan was once a high school teacher and coach who used obscenities and sexual references to shame students into being better at ping-pong, which... seems a little bit excessive for a game that involves two people paddling a ball back and forth across a table. Pre-apocalypse Negan also evidently had a lady love, who either didn't know about his ping-pong antics or was surprisingly okay with him humiliating impressionable teens. A prequel series on AMC could easily craft a story out of anything that Kirkman has already published.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan has come up with a bit of his own backstory for his performances as Negan in Season 7 as well. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is of the opinion that Negan was a bully before the world ended, and the zombie uprising gave him an outlet for his violent impulses. He's already playing Negan like he has a bullying background; it could be very interesting to see a prequel explore that background. His chat with EW makes it clear that he would be on board.
Unfortunately, there's no saying whether or not we'll ever get to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan star in a Negan prequel. AMC is definitely in need of another Walking Dead-sized hit, but the Fear the Walking Dead spinoff hasn't delivered nearly as high of ratings as the mothership. The network has no guarantee that a Negan prequel would pay off.
Tune in to AMC on Sunday, October 23 to see Negan back on The Walking Dead for Season 7. It'll be a bloody first couple of minutes, so don't be late.