The bonus six episodes of Season 10 of The Walking Dead concluded by revealing the backstory of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Originally billed as an antagonist in the hit zombie apocalypse series, the character has turned his life around and is now trying to fit in with Alexandria as best he can.
Episode 22 explored Negan’s story from just prior to the zombie outbreak and through to his very first human kill. During this time, he came into contact with an unexpected character seen before in The Walking Dead.
Laura (Lindsley Register) was known to fans prior to this episode as one of Negan’s respected lieutenants from his group, the Saviors. However, what surprised many fans was her inclusion in the episode rather than Dwight’s (Austin Amelio).
Dwight featured in the comic book version of ‘Here’s Negan’
Sunday night’s episode of The Walking Dead was based on the comic book edition that was released and dealt solely with Negan’s origin story. It was during this installment that fans got to see Negan meeting with Dwight before he became the head of the Saviors.
Because of the way this played out in the comics, many fans of this medium were expecting a similar scene to play out in AMC’s television adaptation.
As Comic Book points out, Dwight and his wife, Sherry (played by Christine Evangelista in the TV version), first came into contact with Negan when they were members of a much smaller group of survivors.
Over time, though, Negan goes on to become the head of the Saviors which also included Dwight as one of his lieutenants and Sherry as one of his wives. Showing this origin story would have helped to flesh out not only Negan’s story but explain how Dwight and Sherry ended up separated by Negan.
Laura was chosen instead of Dwight thanks to filming schedules
According to Entertainment Weekly, the reason why Dwight’s story was cut from Episode 22 and replaced with Laura’s was due to filming schedules.
Dwight and Sherry moved across from the original Walking Dead series to star in the spinoff one, Fear the Walking Dead. While filming for both programs usually occurs at different times of the year, with the current global coronavirus pandemic, the schedules have been messed up and both shows ended up filming at the same time.
“The scheduling did not work with Fear the Walking Dead because usually we’re not on the exact same filming schedule,” The Walking Dead showrunner Kang revealed to Entertainment Weekly. “But because COVID pushed everything, it wouldn’t have worked to bring him over.”
Because of this, the writers had to think outside of the box and come up with another Saviors member who could be substituted in. Hence why Laura turned up in Episode 22.
“We were like, ‘Okay, well let’s think about our other Saviors and who is a sympathetic former Savior,” Kang continued. “And most of them are not really, but Laura was always a Savior that you go, like, ‘She doesn’t seem that bad.’ And then she joined our heroes until Beta killed her.”
This change also lead to a slightly different backstory involving Negan and it’s one that they ended up being really happy with.
In the comics, Negan’s wife dies pretty much at the start of the zombie apocalypse. However, by telling Laura’s story, the TV show was then able to give Negan more time with Lucille (Hilarie Burton) prior to her death.
Season 11 of The Walking Dead will premiere on August 22 at 9/8c on AMC.