With AMC's The Walking Dead returning this Sunday night to the cabler for the first of six "extra" episodes bridging Seasons 10 and 11 as well as filling in gaps in the post-Rick Grimes time jump, the franchise's showrunner and executive producer Angela Kang is looking ahead to the final episode of Season 10C. To save you the time of having to scroll down for a reminder, Episode 1022 is an adaptation of the standalone comic book story "Here's Negan" and one of the season's more highly-anticipated chapters. In the following conversation with EW, Kang explains why now was the right time to tell Negan's story as well as how (once again) those who know the comics shouldn't assume they know where the long-running hit series is going to go with its take.
On Why Season 10C Was the Right Time: "It's something we've always been looking forward to adapting at various times and gone, like, 'Oh, it's definitely going to fall in this stretch,' or, 'It's definitely down that stretch.' It's just kind of moved around. And it felt like this was the right time to do it here because we were able to tie it to something he's going through in the current timeline."
On the Similarities (and Differences) with the Comic Book Version: "I'll say that it's not exactly the same as what people have read in the page, because to tell you the truth, we've told some of those bits and pieces of story. We didn't show it, but he's talked about his relationship with Lucille to various people. We kind of took little bits and pieces over time. So when we looked at it, we were like, 'To do this, we sort of need a very strong way into it. What does it mean for him? And really, like emotionally, what's the story that we can tell?'
I think that in some ways it's very true to the comic, in that it is true to the spirit of the love that he has for Lucille, but there's a lot in our adaptation that is original to the show, but in a way that I think supports the same sort of emotional journey that I think he takes on the page. So there's some lines that are almost straight out of the book, which people who are comic fans will recognize. And then there's other things where we've made some different choices, but that hopefully will still be really cool."
Here's Your Look at The Walking Dead Season 10C
Some of the new faces joining the cast of The Walking Dead include Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Perry Mason, Scorpion) as Mays, Hilarie Burton Morgan (One Tree Hill, White Collar, Friday Night In with the Morgans) as Lucille, Okea Eme-Akwari (Greenland, Cobra Kai), and C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders, The Hitcher) reprising his role as a Season 9 Hilltop resident. The six new episodes will debut Sunday, February 28, at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT, followed by a new episode of Talking Dead each week.
Last time on The Walking Dead, we witnessed the fall of Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the end of the Whisperers War. The Kingdom had fallen, Hilltop was virtually destroyed and Alexandria abandoned to prepare for final battle. Our survivors were trapped and separated from one another. Yet, when faced with almost certain death, they rallied together to fight, killing Beta (Ryan Hurst) and eliminating the threat of the horde.
In these six new episodes, we find our survivors trying to pick themselves up by their bootstraps following the destruction the Whisperers left in their wake. The years of struggle weigh upon them as past traumas surface, exposing their more vulnerable sides. As they question the state of humanity, the state of their collective community, and the states of their minds, will they find the inner strength to persevere with their lives, friendships, and group intact?
EPISODE 1017 – "Home Sweet Home": Maggie (Lauren Cohan) has returned with a story she is not ready to share, even when her past catches up to her. Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) safety is at stake again. Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Maggie fight an unseen and unknown threat. Director: David Boyd / Writers: Kevin Deiboldt & Corey Reed.
EPISODE 1018 – "Find Me": An adventure for Daryl and Carol (Melissa McBride) turns sideways when they come across an old cabin. It takes Daryl back to the years when he left the group after Rick disappeared as he relives a time that only the apocalypse could manifest. Director: David Boyd / Writer: Nicole Mirante-Matthews.
EPISODE 1019 – "One More": Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) search for food and supplies to bring back to Alexandria. Small tragedies lead to bigger tragedies as faith is broken and optimism is fragmented when they are put to the ultimate test. Director: Laura Belsey / Writers: Erik Mountain & Jim Barnes.
EPISODE 1020 – "Splinter": Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), and Princess (Paola Lázaro) are captured and separated. Princess struggles with memories of her traumatic past and tries to escape one way or another with the help of Ezekiel. Director: Laura Belsey / Writers: Julia Ruchman & Vivian Tse.
EPISODE 1021 – "Diverged": Daryl and Carol come to a fork in the road and head their separate ways. Each going into their own type of survival mode, the easiest of challenges become much harder. Will their individual journeys be the tipping point needed to mend their friendship or is the distance between them permanent? Director: David Boyd / Writer: Heather Bellson.
EPISODE 1022 – "Here's Negan": Carol takes Negan on a journey, hoping to minimize the increasing tension. Negan reflects on the events that led him to this point and comes to a conclusion about his future. Director: Laura Belsey / Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick.