The Season 6 finale of AMC's The Walking Dead will surely go down in history as one of the show's most memorable episodes, since it introduced the iconic villain Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Since Negan is still alive in the comics, from his introduction in the 100th issue to the 160th issue that was release this month, it shouldn't be terribly surprising that this character has just been confirmed for Season 8. Here's what Jeffrey Dean Morgan had to say during a recent interview, where he confirmed his plans for Season 8, while revealing that production recently wrapped on Season 7, and teasing the next two episodes.
"Well, I know I'll be around for Season 8. I think we all knew that. We finished the whole season a week ago. The next two, I'm really big in. I'm f---ing heavy in those."
AMC renewed their hit zombie series for Season 8 last month, much to no one's surprise, since it remains one of the highest rated shows on TV, broadcast or cable. We reported last month that 17 million viewers tuned in for the Season 7 premiere, where the nefarious Negan killed off two beloved characters, Steven Yeun's Glenn Rhee and Michael Cudlitz's Abraham Ford. During his interview on the Howard Stern Show, Jeffrey Dean Morgan confirmed that he filmed death scenes for each cast member lined up by the Saviors in the Season 6 finale, while adding why the show took this approach.
"I did kill shots on the entire cast. I think the plan was, they would leak some stuff beforehand just to throw people off because there are people whose sole purpose is to ruin the show, to spoil what's going to happen on the show."
While the news that Negan will return isn't terribly surprising, it's worth noting that this zombie series has a history of subverting expectations of longtime comic book fans. For example, during Sunday night's episode, entitled Swear, fans were introduced to the new community of Oceanside, which isn't introduced until the 139th issue of the comics, while Negan's introduction happens in the 100th issue. There are also characters like Andrea, who are still alive in the comics but have long been killed off in the TV series. Still, since Negan isn't going anywhere in the near future, Jeffrey Dean Morgan added in his interview that his character isn't as evil as you may think.
"If you put yourself in this apocalyptic Zombie-fied world, I think anybody that's survived this long has probably done some bad things. They killed 30 of my men while they slept. So far, I've tapped a couple of guys in the head with a baseball bat and all of a sudden it's the end of the world!"
We saw in a preview for next week's episode, Sing Me a Song, that Michonne has gone off on her own, with the synopsis revealing that fans will get a much more detailed look into the world of the Saviors and their home, the Sanctuary, when this episode airs Sunday, December 4 at 9 PM ET on AMC. The mid-season finale, Exodus, will air Sunday, December 11 at 9 PM ET on AMC. The network hasn't announced when The Walking Dead will return from its mid-season hiatus, but it will likely be back in February, since that is when the mid-season premieres have aired since Season 2.