Jeffrey Dean Morgan Doesn't Like Being Replaced As The Walking Dead's Greatest Villain

Jeffrey Dean Morgan on The Walking Dead AMC

Who is the best villain on The Walking Dead? Comic book fans used to debate The Governor vs. Negan, but a new name entered the race late in the game with Alpha. Season 9 is returning from midseason slumber this Sunday, February 10, as The Whisperers storyline kicks into high gear. Alpha is the leader of the skin-wearing group, and she'll be played by Samantha Morton.

Greg Nicotero is not only The Walking Dead's special effects guru, he also directs episodes, including this week's midseason premiere. He recently singled out Alpha in a way that pissed off Negan actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Here's the story from Nicotero:

I did an interview a couple of months ago where I said Alpha was the greatest villain The Walking Dead has ever seen. Five minutes later, I got a text from Jeffrey Dean Morgan that said, ‘Hey, motherfucker!' I’m like, ‘Dude, you know I love you. You know I love Negan, but the show has evolved and changed.’

Don't we know it. Negan is no longer the whistling guy who brutally Lucilled Glenn and Abraham in that horrible lineup. He was most recently a broken man, or seemed that way until he -- SPOILER ALERT if you haven't watched the midseason finale yet -- managed to exit his unlocked cell in Alexandria. (What would Rick think of that? Or Maggie? I hate that we may never know.) And if Jeffrey Dean Morgan feels usurped on the main stage, at least he still has Supernatural fans excited for his return to that show.

Season 9 will show us what happened to Negan after his prison walkout, but it sounds like he might be on the B-team, with the A-storyline following The Whisperers. The midseason finale showed the Whisperer's drawing blood, taking the life of a popular character. The second half of the season is focusing more on the new big bads, and it may be tough to watch. Here's more on that from Greg Nicotero to Atlanta Magazine:

For me, I love the terrifying aspect of [the Whisperers]. It’s like Leatherface and Michael Myers, they have these faces that don’t move, so there’s this weird, detached approach. They look you in the eyes, but you don’t know what thinking or what they’re feeling.

AMC's midseason premiere Whisperer's trailer definitely set a creepy tone. Samantha Morton is a fantastic actress (let me make a quick plug for Hulu's Harlots, 'cause she is a BOSS in that) so it's no surprise that Greg Nicotero also said he was blown away by her performance as Alpha.

Alpha The Whisperers The Walking Dead AMC

Also, in the first half of the new season, characters kept mentioning a fair coming up. That rang alarm bells in the minds of Walking Dead comic book readers, and we should see some version of that storyline play out on TV. The Whisperers are definitely connected.

Some fans may have already seen the Episode 9 midseason premiere, since AMC made it available a week early. For the rest of us, "Adaptation" will air this Sunday, with the communities banding together after their recent loss. Also, according to the synopsis:

New leaders rise when a disturbing and dangerous threat is unmasked, and an escaped captive revisits his past.

AMC is also airing a bonus scene from Episode 8 right before the new episode, with that content starting at 7:45 p.m. on Sunday, before the new episode starts at 9 p.m. The Walking Dead isn't the must-see show it used to be, but it still attracts millions of fans, and it's fun to all watch (and sometimes tweet) together as a community. Here's what else we can watch together, or separately, during midseason 2019.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.