It’s safe to say that the addition of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan to The Walking Dead has been a controversial one; strong actor, but in a role weighing on viewers. Morgan has time yet to flesh out Negan’s nuances, confirming not only his return for Season 8, but also explaining some of the mysterious leaks that cropped up around his entrance.

Perhaps most pressingly, Morgan confirmed to Howard Stern that his particular brand of villainy wouldn’t be one-and-done for the series, continuing on into Season 8. The Walking Dead has stuck largely by the comics in recent years, in which both Negan and the Saviors hang around significantly longer than the Governor, while Morgan used his own colorful method to preview Negan’s reign:

I know I will be on board for Season 8. We’ve finished [Season 7] a week ago … The next two [episodes], I’m really big in. I’m fucking heavy in those.

Charming, to the last. In any case, another intriguing detail from Morgan’s interview also seemed to suggest that any leaked footage of Negan’s victim (including the alternate take of Lauren Cohan’s Maggie) likely came from AMC itself as a means to disseminate misinformation:

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.

AMC wouldn’t be the first network to leak some of its own wares (Game of Thrones actors have suggested HBO was guilty of this as well), but either way, is The Walking Dead now firmly Negan’s world?

How might the series differentiate from the character’s comic portrayal?

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