What Does the Future Hold for Negan (and Maggie) on ‘The Walking Dead’?

Josh Stringer/AMC

The Walking Dead is rife with characters whose futures are unclear: Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and anyone who’s outlived their comics counterpart. But this season, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) fans have taken a one-two punch when it comes to their fave — he’s not only moved up his comic ending by the equivalent of a whole season, but he’s apparently going to be traveling across the country with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who he just said he knew would kill him eventually if he stuck around her. Uh, what?

Here, we’re predicting what Negan’s immediate and spinoff future might hold.

the walking dead season 11 episode 9, jeffrey dean morgan as negan

Season 11 Negan

One thing seems certain: Negan lives. Unless the spinoff announcements are elaborate fakeouts — which we severely doubt — Negan’s survival past the main show’s final episode is a lock. Yes, this does lower the stakes anytime he’s in danger. But more importantly, if he’s not really going off by himself to live in a cabin in the woods like his comic counterpart, what’s he going to be up to for the rest of the season?

If the spinoff is going to push him and Maggie together again, it’s probable they’ll spend more time together before the flagship drops its anchor. Currently, it’d be a stretch to even call them allies, much less friends; and that uneasy dynamic might be what the spinoff goes with, since Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) have the “best friends” thing covered. But watching six episodes of Maggie and Negan constantly at each other’s throats might get tiring.

Instead, we’re wondering if Negan won’t do something that redeems him a little more in Maggie’s eyes before The Walking Dead ends. They’ll never be pals after what he did to Glenn (Steven Yeun), but if they can get to a place where they at least trust each other not to slip a knife in the other’s person’s back when it’s turned, the spinoff would be better for it. Maybe he saves her son? Maybe he saves her, again? How many “saves Maggie”s does it take to cancel out one “killed her husband with a barbed wire baseball bat”?

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 3

Josh Stringer/AMC

Post-Season 11 Negan

After The Walking Dead concludes, we now know Negan’s going to be heading to New York City with Maggie for Isle of the Dead. Why? How? It’s beyond unclear. But if they’re allied, we’re guessing it has something to do with CRM… either they’re looking for Rick or they’re trying to get to CRM for other reasons. It’d be hard to see Negan putting his life on the line to look for Rick, though.

Another theory floating around is that they might band together to look for Hershel. If something happened to her son, there’s no mountain Maggie wouldn’t move to save him — and Negan has a soft spot for kids and also took Hershel’s father from him, so it’s possible he’d feel guilty enough to come along. How and why would this take them to New York? Again, unclear. CRM doesn’t seem like it’s kidnapping small children, so maybe it’d have nothing to do with them at all.

Also possible is that Maggie opts not to go to the Commonwealth, ever, but she also realizes it’s time to give up on her dream of resurrecting Hilltop. Maybe she decides to start over somewhere new, and Negan… follows her? Decides to go with her, because he doesn’t want to go to the Commonwealth, either? (We really can’t imagine anywhere he’d fit in in that community.) We’re not sure why he’d opt to join Maggie instead of striking out on his own like he just did.

A final, more “out there” theory is that, perhaps, one of them isn’t safe at all. The Walking Dead is no stranger to characters having hallucinations of other characters. We’ve seen it with Carol and Alpha (Samantha Morton), Daryl and Merle (Michael Rooker), Rick and Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), the list goes on. If Isle of the Dead is a limited series, it’s possible that those six episodes feature either Maggie or Negan as a hallucination the other is having: An angel or devil on their shoulder.

The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC