Negan’s Journey: Relive His Best TWD Moments Before TWD: Dead City Premieres

Negan started out on The Walking Dead as the most villainous of villains and remained that way for a very long while. But in time viewers came to understand that his goal was survival, just as it was for our heroes. They also came to understand that he began the apocalypse as a flawed yet normal person, a gym teacher, who didn't have malevolent intentions… that is until he was overwhelmed by the death of his wife and a world overrun by walkers and desperation.
To catch up on Negan's journey ahead of the debut of The Walking Dead: Dead City, the highly anticipated new series that follows Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) in a post-apocalyptic Manhattan, check out AMC+ for The Walking Dead: Best of Negan. It highlights pivotal moments throughout Negan's story and is narrated by none other than Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The collection includes the four episodes of The Walking Dead that have been crucial to Negan's odyssey.
The first episode in the collection is "Last Day on Earth," the (in)famous Season 6 finale that introduced Negan in all his brutality to the series. We hear Negan's signature whistle echoing through the woods before we even see him. Confronted by a mass of Saviors and Simon, Negan's right-hand man, Glenn, Rosita, Daryl, Michonne, Abraham, Maggie, Rick, Sasha, Aaron, Carl, and Eugene are forced to kneel in a semicircle. Simon then says, "Let's meet the man," and knocks on the door of an RV. A leather-clad Negan emerges, Lucille over his shoulder, and utters his first words, asking, "Pissing our pants yet?" He then proceeds to terrorize the kneeling group by informing them that he's going to "beat the holy hell" out of one of them with his barbed wire covered bat. By the end of the episode, Negan is slamming Lucille over and over in ferocious fashion on an unidentified person. It wouldn't be until the Season 7 premiere that we learned of Abraham and then Glenn's demise at the hands of Negan and Lucille. Glenn's death would set the stage for Maggie's seething resentment of Negan throughout the remainder of the series.
Next up is the Season 8 Finale, "Wrath," where the Saviors are finally defeated. Negan tries to make a last stand by threatening Rick with Lucille. But Rick, invoking Carl's name, asks for 10 seconds to make his case. Negan agrees and then Rick slashes his throat. Rick now has him right where he wants him, but he decides to let Negan live and Maggie is enraged. With Michonne holding her back, Maggie yells, "No! He killed Glenn! It's not over until he's dead!" But Rick won't be swayed and decrees that Negan will be imprisoned for the rest of his life in lieu of death. Rick and Michonne tell Negan they plan to build a civilization and he'll have to watch it happen. "You, alive, is going to help show people that things have changed, that keeping you breathing earns another way, a better way," Rick says. "That's the part you'll play." Michonne adds, "So after all this, maybe you're good for something." Maggie is not on board with this development.
As the Whisperer War continues, Negan has an important mission to undertake in the next episode of the Negan mini-series, Season 10, Episode 12, "Walk with Us." Following the attack on Hilltop, Negan realizes that Alpha wants to be reunited with Lydia (because Alpha wants to kill her). He captures Lydia, straps her to a chair in a shed, and then tells Alpha he found her. As they make their way to the shed, Negan speaks lovingly of his wife Lucille to Alpha, but then shares that her death from cancer made him "dead to this world." Alpha replies that he should be grateful because death set Lucille free and adds that Lydia was made "to be free with me." With an urgent drumbeat in the background, the camera cuts from Lydia trying desperately to untie the ropes that bind her to scenes of Negan and Alpha making it ever closer to the shed. At the shed, Negan and Alpha kiss, but when Alpha opens the door, there's no sign of Lydia and we realize that Negan had hidden Lydia elsewhere. Negan then slashes Alpha's throat and lays her down as she bleeds out and dies. The next thing we see, is Negan rolling Alpha's head to Carol's feet. "Took you long enough," she says to him. We learn in a later episode that Carol made a deal to set Negan free in exchange for Alpha's murder.
The final episode in the Negan collection is "Here's Negan," the Season 10 finale, that takes us back to the beginning and shows viewers that Negan wasn't always a homicidal maniac. With Maggie back at Alexandria, Negan is hoping that Carol will arrange a rapprochement between them. Instead, Carol exiles Negan to a remote cabin. An emotionally wounded Negan then reflects on his journey and gives the audience a chance to learn he was just a regular guy before the apocalypse. He lost his job as a gym teacher, played video games, and was reprimanded by his wife Lucille for spending too much money on his now-recognizable leather jacket. He cheated on Lucille but was a model husband once she fell sick with cancer. He figured out how to give her chemotherapy and went all in on finding medicine for her, including threatening a kind doctor and his daughter (who gives Negan her baseball bat to defend himself) and giving up the doctor's location to a menacing gang. After all that, he returns home to find a zombified Lucille… she had taken her life in his absence. A heartbroken Negan burns their home down and goes to beat up the gang, donning his leather jacket and wielding his new barbed wire bat. As Jeffrey Dean Morgan says, "When he lost Lucille, there was no more reason to keep a lid on his rage." After this painful trip down memory lane, Negan returns to Alexandria under the hateful gaze of Maggie. Carol warns him, "If you stay here, she will kill you."
Negan and Maggie continue their standoff in Season 11, as they unite uneasily to defeat the Reapers and The Commonwealth. But, as The Walking Dead ends, Negan finally apologizes to Maggie for taking Glenn away from her and Hershel. For her part, Maggie thanks him for apologizing and says Negan and his new wife Annie, who's pregnant, can stay, even though there will be days when she'll find it hard to deal with his presence.
To understand who Negan is and the events that led to his reign of terror, track his progress across five seasons in this collection of Negan's essential moments on AMC+Discover what happens in the next chapter of Negan's journey when The Walking Dead: Dead City, the newest series in The Walking Dead Universe, premieres on Sunday, June 18 at 10/9c on AMC and AMC+, with subsequent episodes airing at 9/8c. AMC+ subscribers will get early access to every episode on Thursdays, beginning June 15. Try AMC+ for free here.