“We’re not gonna hurt you, we’re gonna kill you,” Rick tells Negan, whose capture brought an end to the All Out War, in the season eight finale of The Walking Dead. “You’re gonna rot in a cell. For the rest of your life, day after day.” You can’t blame Rick for wanting to punish Negan: he killed Glenn and Abraham; tortured Daryl; and nearly made him cut off his own son’s hand. But in the 18-month in-universe gap between seasons, maybe they’ve found common ground up, that, someday, they could even be friends? Not exactly.
“We talked about it in the writers room, just this idea of, when a war ends — and then you have people who are soldiers in the war, generals — what happens when there’s no real transition? Because it’s an apocalypse,” new showrunner Angela Kang said about Negan’s capture on the Walking Dead season nine preview. “I think in a lot of ways, Rick goes down there and it’s part therapy and part gloating. They’re just trying to work their way through it. They both feel in some ways like dinosaurs after the war. As Rick is trying to figure out what’s the next step, what’s the next mission, Negan kind of needles him.”
Kang continued, “Rick needs to be able to justify, ‘This is why I kept you alive, it’s so that we can have a future.’ So that’s really what it is, him trying to kind of work it through. And also tell him, though, like, hey man, you’re suffering, we’ve got a good thing going.” I’m sure Negan will take kindly to the needling.
As for Maggie, who did not appreciate Rick’s decision to save the man who killed her husband, she doesn’t intend to “fall in line with everything Rick’s doing because she has to take care of her own people now. She’s got her own agendas and she’s gonna follow them.” They might disagree on Negan (who still hasn’t gotten his origin story episode), but Rick and Maggie have one thing in common: they’re both leaving The Walking Dead next season.
(Via Comic Book)