Is Michonne about to do what once seemed unthinkable on The Walking Dead? Negan, the former leader of the Saviors who introduced himself to the Alexandrians by bashing two of their heads in with a baseball bat, was the ultimate villain. Rick Grimes promised the big bad he would kill him, but then changed his mind at the pleading of his dying son. Instead, he put Negan in a cell so his former tormentor could see the new world they were building without him.

Then, after Rick’s disappearance, Michonne kept Negan in the cell for years to continue carrying out his sentence. But is that all about to change? At the end of season 9, Negan saved Rick’s daughter, Judith, as well as Daryl’s dog in a snowstorm. So will that act of selfless bravery earn Negan his freedom in season 10? Showrunner Angela Kang seems to hint to EW that it will.

“We had a whole year with him in his cell,” Kang says, “so I think after his heroic rescue of Judith, people might’ve noticed that when he was in that bed in the infirmary, he was not tied up or cuffed. So we’re dealing with the next stage of what things are for Negan. I think for people who have been wanting us to release the Negan, there will be some satisfaction there.”

Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Negan has done a complete do-gooder 180. While he may be on a different path than his dictatorship days, there are still flashes of that rude and crude charm. “Negan’s story is one of my personal favorites in this season,” notes Kang. “Things get complicated, because it’s Negan. Some of the stuff [Jeffrey Dean Morgan] is doing is so compelling, because here’s this guy who has been on a path of trying to redeem himself in some way, but he’s still Negan. He’s not the hero. He’s, at best, an antihero, but there’s definitely darkness and an edge to him.”

Kang also teases that Negan could indeed play a big role in the current war with the Whisperers, as he did in the comic (no spoilers here): “When that is in the mix with a story having to do with this new set of enemies, and when he himself still is an outsider in the community, just a lot of explosive things are at play.”

Let the explosions begin.

We’ll have a new piece of Walking Dead scoop every day leading up the show’s Comic-Con panel in San Diego on July 19.

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The Walking Dead

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

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