Why The Walking Dead TV show changed Negan’s escape story arc

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan; group - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan; group - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

The Walking Dead showrunner talks about why Negan’s escape didn’t follow the same path as his escape in the comic.

On The Walking Dead Negan’s escape from the prison in the basement of Rick’s house at Alexandria also was a plot point in the comic, but in the comic Negan didn’t actually leave. The show changed the trajectory of Negan’s escape and sent him back to Sanctuary. In the comic Negan had a chance to escape and he didn’t take it, because he was making a point. But when he had the chance to escape in the show he took it and went back to Sanctuary immediately.

What he finds at Sanctuary remains to be seen. It looks as though the Saviors appear to have disbanded and the Sanctuary didn’t survive the six year time jump it makes sense that Negan would go back there after his escape. With Rick gone Negan may be thinking that now he can rebuild the Sanctuary and start saving people again.

It also may be the case that without Rick Grimes to lead the fight against the Whisperers Negan will play a bigger role in that story arc. Without Rick the communities could use Negan’s strategy expertise and his willingness to go to extremes to defeat anyone that he thinks is an enemy. Negan, in his own way, wants the communities to survive so it would make sense for him to help the survivors fight the Whisperers.

Angela Kang recently talked to EW about a lot of things about season 9, including why Negan’s escape arc was changed. When asked about the change in Negan’s escape story line she said:

"We’ll also find out what happened with Negan, now that he has broken out of the jail cell. We get to tell a really, I think, pretty cool story with Negan, as he goes on an adventure of his own.Yeah, it’s not exactly the story that was in the comics, but we thought that it would be really interesting to see. Negan has wanted out of that cell. He kind of got to a point where he was like, “Just kill me.” Then we saw him after the big time jump kind of in a place of semi-acceptance of his fate, but he’s always wanted something more. He feels like he can be more in this world and so he sets out to prove that that’s still possible. What he finds is a really interesting and different world out there from the time that he came into prison."

Negan As An Ally

In season 9A it looked like Negan had become a fixture in Alexandria. Judith went to him for help with her homework, although she made it clear that she doesn’t trust him. After all the time that has passed and considering the absence of Rick it’s possible that the members of Alexandria will accept Negan as a part of the community if they need his help to fight The Whisperers.

Will Michonne be able to accept Negan’s help after everything that has happened? Michonne is a pragmatist and if Negan is going to be the key to keeping Judith and RJ safe she will probably be willing to find a way to work with him. Although he may end up back in that cell once the Whisperers are defeated.

Next. Panel discussion: What's next for Negan. dark

The Walking Dead fans will find out more about what’s next for Negan when the show returns for the highly anticipated season 9B on February 10.