Negan Smith began his journey on The Walking Dead as a significant villain. No fan can forget the lineup of several of our survivors, which ended in the brutal bludgeoning of Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun). Portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Negan’s on-screen persona looked as if he walked from the comic pages on which the series is based.
Throughout the series, Negan is one character who has transformed greatly. Viewers saw him as the gym teacher and cheating husband featured in the 10c bonus episode “Here’s Negan,” to the evil villain beginning in season 6, and then to a man hellbent on redeeming himself for his past actions in the later seasons.
Midway through season 11, Negan, realizing that someday Maggie (Lauren Cohan) would end up killing him in revenge for his killing of her husband, set off on his own. He would return with a new group, Riverside, and announce that not only had he gotten married to Annie (Medina Senghore), but she was also expecting their child.
The Walking Dead – Negan Smith
Many people, Ezekiel (Khary Payton), haven’t forgotten about Negan’s past actions. This includes killings and coercing women into being his wives, to only name a few of his transgressions. Negan has done many things to redeem his past but will it ever be enough for those he caused extreme grief to?
Negan’s most significant change occurred when he found himself on his knees, begging for the life of his wife and unborn child. This was a direct call back to what Maggie experienced at Negan’s hands with Glenn. This is the turning point in his life. He would then give Maggie the long-awaited apology for the pain he caused her.
Maggie and Negan had an emotional heart-to-heart, a conversation that was also featured in the comic story. Maggie tells Negan that although she is grateful for him saving her son Hershel (Kein Michael Spiller), she can never forgive him for Glenn. She states that Glenn was beautiful, and when she remembers him, all that she sees is Negan’s bat coming down on his head and then Negan smiling after the fact.
The last viewers see of Negan is Daryl watching him from a window and giving him a nod as Negan walks away. Even after the 1-year time jump Negan nor his wife Annie are seen. He sends Judith (Cailey Fleming) her compass, telling her it helped him find his way, and hopes it will help her find her dreams.
This is how Negan lived his life in the comics. He took up residents far away from the others and lived alone. Perhaps this was a nod to the comic story, but it seems odd for a character of significance not to be featured in the series’ final scenes.
Negan will star in The Walking Dead: Dead City spinoff with Maggie, so perhaps more will be shared about what has transpired in his story from the flagship series end to a couple of years jump the spinoff will begin with.