When The Walking Dead returns to AMC in 2021, it won't be kicking off its final season just yet. Rather, the creative team is putting out six more episodes in Season 10 that will delve deeper into some of the characters' backstories, such as laying out where Lauren Cohan's Maggie has been all these years. It looks like fans can also get ready to head into Negan's past thanks to the introduction of the character's comic book wife Lucille, who obviously shares a name with Negan's beloved weapon. Thankfully, AMC's casting choice is downright perfect, too.
The Walking Dead has added One Tree Hill vet and frequent Lifetime actress Hilarie Burton to Season 10, according to ComicBook.com. Why is Burton the A+ choice to play the live-action version of the rarely seen comic character Lucille? Because she's the real life wife of Negan portrayer Jeffrey Dean Morgan, of course. The Hollywood couple definitely has a more traditional and loving relationship than what readers are led to believe Negan shared with Lucille – the woman, not the baseball bat – but they should definitely be able to bring some nuance to the couple's tragic story, while imbuing their off-screen chemistry into it all.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton definitely got used to working together during quarantine lockdowns, as they're the titular stars of AMC's remote-location chat show Friday Night in with the Morgans. So it was probably easy for Walking Dead execs to get Burton on the phone to pitch that offer. Beyond that, it makes a ton of sense for Hilarie Burton to take on the role of Lucille, since COVID safety procedures would possibly make it more difficult for Morgan-as-Negan to get believably romantic with another woman. (Since that definitely isn't happening with Maggie.)
It'll be interesting to see how Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang expands Lucille's story, since the comic book doesn't dive into her point of view at any point before she died of cancer. Throughout the main storyline, readers get tiny nuggets of info about her from Negan's blathering, but the Here's Negan standalone issue flips back to Negan's final moments with her zombified body. As well, that issue details how he first gained possession of the baseball bat that he wrapped with barb wire and named after his wife. There's no telling how many of those moments the TV show will portray, but I do hope we get a peek at the couple's domestic life before everything turns shitty. (I mean, Negan was cheating on her, so it was already shitty, but still.)
While it looks like Hilarie Burton is being billed as a "guest star" for The Walking Dead Season 10, it's definitely possible that Lucille's introduction into the flagship series could spawn returns in the future. Probably not on the Fear or World Beyond spinoffs, since that would take some narrative leaps. But it could certainly happen on the anthologized Tales of the Walking Dead project that Scott Gimple is developing, which is set to feature one-off jaunts that will revisit old characters and also introduce new characters and locations. Plus, there's always a chance that Negan will get his own feature-length movie, assume the Rick Grimes flicks ever actually happen.
The Walking Dead is currently in production on six new Season 10 episodes that will bridge the gap to the first half of Season 11, which is set to kick off on AMC in the show's usual October premiere window. While waiting to hear more casting news, head to our Fall 2020 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are popping up on the small screen soon.