The Walking Dead: Dead City Star Jeffrey Dean Morgan Is Reminded Daily That Glenn Was Everyone's Favorite Character

If you're still bitter about the way Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) went out way back in season seven of "The Walking Dead," you're not alone. In fact, there are loads of people walking around out there who not only miss Glenn, but miss him enough to tell the actor who played the man who killed him about it on the regular. /Film is at the Television Critics Association tour today in Southern California, where Vanessa Armstrong attended a panel featuring Negan actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who spoke about the enduring (and infamous) legacy of his character.

"The great thing about Negan in this role for me is how much he's changed from that day that he walked out of the RV," Morgan shared. "I didn't think one, that'd I'd still be here and part of this world. But I think Scott [Gimple] and [showrunner Eli Jorné] and the other writers, what they have done is they've really fleshed out a character that lived beyond the comic books." 

In Robert Kirkman's "Walking Dead" comic books, Negan came out swinging in the series' 100th issue, brandishing a barbed-wire-covered baseball bat that he promptly used to bash the brains of pizza boy-turned-hero Glenn.

New Yorkers love to remind Morgan about his infamous entrance

Bizarrely, "The Walking Dead" TV show followed up its most infamous scene with a slow-burn redemption plot for Negan, and now he's set to head up a spinoff series with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), the wife of the man he mercilessly slaughtered. Kirkman's comics eventually followed in the footsteps of the series, making Negan less of a full-blown villain, but Morgan still credits the TV show for going beyond the infamous Savior scene in the clearing where Negan first steps out of the RV, calling his subsequent plot "a tricky thing to do." In the comics, he points out, "we really only see one side of him with what Kirkman has done and that's the RV clearing Negan that we've seen," Morgan says.

He continues, "That one scene changed my life, literally in so many ways and I still get s*** for it." The actor says he lives in New York, where people are prone to coming up to him to talk about Glenn. "I walk down those streets and the people that are there remind me daily that Glenn was their favorite character," he says. I think it's a testament to how real Glenn felt to fans, and how cruelly his death was portrayed on screen, that my knee-jerk first response to this statement is "good!" Of course, an actor doesn't deserve to be blamed for something a character he played did, but as one of many people who tapped out when "The Walking Dead" started killing fan favorites with increasing relish, it is a little nice to hear that the world hasn't forgotten Glenn. The series clearly touched millions of fans, even if it ultimately made some of us more upset than anything else.

What's next for Negan?

The big challenge now will be seeing if a more Negan-centered story can also manage to touch audiences. "The Walking Dead: Dead City" is set to follow Negan and Maggie in New York. While plot details are still being kept under wraps, the show's premiere season will reportedly be six episodes long, just like the stellar first season of "The Walking Dead." A first look at the production of the show mostly just tells us that Negan and Maggie will wear cool leather jackets and climb something, but Morgan has more insight into where his character will be when the show picks up.

"The journey that Negan's been on and where he finds himself now in Dead City is far away place from where we first met him, and yet there's still that guy," Morgan shares, seeming to reference remnants of the villain we first met that might still be inside the character. He continues:

"The last couple years Negan has really done his best to fit in and find his way in his community and now when we find him, it's everything. It's all that we've seen from here's Negan and why he became this guy to that scene in the clearing to this relationship with Maggie the last season we saw in 'The Walking Dead.'"

Ultimately, Morgan calls Negan's arc a "good full circle," which hopefully means he won't be giving us any more reasons to yell at the actor on the street. "The Walking Dead: Dead City" will premiere on AMC and AMC+ in 2023.