Judging by the fact that Negan is in the process of bashing in somebody’s brains with a barbed-wire covered baseball bat, we’re starting to get a pretty good idea of what sort of fella we’ll be dealing with on season 7 of The Walking Dead. But what was the leader of the Saviors like before the zombie apocalypse?

We posed that question to the man playing him, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and he said this is not a case of a good guy gone bad. “I think he was probably a little bit of an a–hole and a little bit of a bully,” says Morgan of pre-apocalypse Negan. “I don’t think this all just came about after the apocalypse. It would be fun to do a prequel to who Negan was. I know [creator Robert Kirkman] has been writing this before-we-know-Negan graphic novel. He’s releasing little pieces of it now.”

Morgan says that unlike the villain you love to hate, Negan — even in his younger form— was more like the jerk you hate to love. “I think Negan’s always been the dick you went to high school with,” says the actor. “But he also has a razor sharp sense of humor, which goes hand-in-hand with this sort of bullying he does — it’s all with a sharp wit. Here’s the thing with Negan: He’s going to make you laugh. Even through the worst of it, you will find yourself smiling against your will. And I think that’s exactly how he was as a kid and through high school and stuff. That’s how we’re playing him, anyway. That’s how I’m going at it. He didn’t turn into this in one day. He’s been working at it for a while.”

Check out the video above to see Morgan describe old school Negan, and for more Walking Dead scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

Episode Recaps

The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

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