‘The Walking Dead’ Star Jeffrey Dean Morgan Teases Negan’s Origin Story and Hilarie Burton’s Role

the walking dead season 10 negan lucille
Q&A
Josh Stringer/AMC

Since the foul-mouthed Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) made his bloody entrance on The Walking Dead, we’ve seen him evolve from ruthless killer to imprisoned jerk to hero (kind of). In the Season 10 ender, the grizzled survivor reminisces about his badass late wife, Lucille, played by Morgan’s own spouse, Hilarie Burton.

Expect flashbacks to their time together pre- and post-apocalypse, Lucille’s cancer battle, and the birth of the other Lucille — Negan’s signature bat. “If you’re a villain fan and want to know what makes them tick, this [episode] will do that for you,” Morgan teases. He lays it all out.

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Plus, they talk about the return of Maggie and the upcoming Carol/Daryl spinoff.

At the start of this episode, Negan and Carol (Melissa McBride) are going on a journey to relieve some of the tension happening between Negan and the newly-returned Maggie (Lauren Cohan). But does Negan trust Carol? Is she someone he would confide in at this point?

Jeffrey Dean Morgan: He wants to. I think after what happened with Alpha [Samantha Morton], there needs to be a confrontation between Carol and Negan. She had promised him the world if he killed Alpha, and hasn’t really come through.

So, Negan’s kind of had it with Carol’s promises at this point and he wants to have words about that. He’s not expecting the keys to the kingdom, but he did expect to go back to Alexandria and have her explain, ‘Look, this is what happened. I got him out of jail to kill Alpha and he did,’ and she hasn’t really done that yet.

How was it having Hilarie play your TV wife in the flashbacks we’ll see?

It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever gotten to do in my career. She was so good. And thankfully, she works like I do. It doesn’t matter what we’re shooting, before and after they say “action” and “cut,” we’re idiots and can have a good time. I’m so proud of her I can’t even stand it.

the walking dead hilarie burton jeffrey dean morgan

(Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC)

What’s the dynamic like between Negan and Lucille?

They’re very normal. I think Negan’s a guy you’d see out mowing his lawn on the weekends. Really, I do! They’re also very much in love. She is his soulmate. And she’s got a better grip on what’s going on in the world. She’s trying to explain to Negan that he has to kill a walker, and he balks at that. She is the stronger of the two.

And Negan f–ks up, there’s no doubt about that. That being said, he loves one person, and that is Lucille. And I think that becomes even clearer in watching this episode.

Why did Negan push his grief for Lucille aside for so long?

When she meets her end, Negan has to do a 180, almost out of necessity. His way of dealing with it was not dealing with it. So in this episode, after relieving his past, he’s at the point — and a couple of things happen — but he comes to the point where he has to say goodbye to the real Lucille and mourn her properly. He does that in the best way that I think Negan knows how.

Negan Walking Dead Saviors

Jeffrey Dean Morgan wielding ‘Lucille’ as Negan in his introductory episode of The Walking Dead (Credit: AMC)

There’s a scene from the Season 10 trailers where we see Negan wrapping barbed wire around a bat. Are we going to get to see a flashback to the creation of Lucille, or is it more complicated than that?

No, it’s not more complicated than that. You will see the iteration of Lucille and how she comes to be — absolutely. And it’s a cool story. How the writers weave this all together is super cool.

Did you introduce the Lucilles on set?

I let one cradle the other, and I was a bit jealous. I didn’t know who to be angry with, the bat or Hilarie, but they met and got along fabulously.

The Walking Dead, Season Finale, Sunday, April 4, 9/8c, AMC