Does Negan become good in season 11?

Negan is one of the most complex and controversial characters on The Walking Dead. He started out as the ruthless leader of the Saviors and was the primary antagonist for multiple seasons. However, in recent seasons, there have been signs that Negan is trying to change and redeem himself. Season 11 sees Negan continuing on this redemption arc, leading many fans to wonder – does Negan actually become good by the end of the season?

Brief background on Negan

Negan was first introduced in season 6 of The Walking Dead. He was the leader of a group called the Saviors that ruthlessly exploited other communities. Negan demanded half of their supplies in exchange for “protection.” Anyone who resisted was brutally murdered to set an example.

Negan’s most infamous act was brutally killing Glenn in season 7. This cemented him as the show’s biggest villain at the time. He continued to antagonize Rick and the other communities until his defeat at the end of the All Out War in season 8.

Negan’s imprisonment

Rather than kill Negan, Rick imprisoned him in Alexandria. This allowed Negan to reflect on his actions over several seasons. During this time, we got glimpses that Negan was more complex than just a one-dimensional villain. He formed friendships with Judith and bonded with Lydia over their traumatic childhoods.

Negan also risked his life to help Alexandria multiple times. He saved Judith from falling off a ledge. He also volunteered to dispose of Alpha’s walker herd, nearly getting killed in the process. These selfless acts suggested he was actively trying to redeem himself.

Evidence of Negan’s redemption in Season 11

Season 11 sees Negan continuing on his redemption journey outside of prison. There are several key pieces of evidence indicating he may have become one of the “good guys.”

Negan saves Maggie

One of Negan’s most heroic acts was saving Maggie in episode 9. Maggie fell off a crumbling bridge into a horde of walkers. Despite their antagonistic history, Negan risked his life to create a distraction so Maggie could escape.

This was a huge turning point in their relationship. Maggie later told Negan “You’re one of us now” – acknowledging he had changed.

Negan protects Alexandria

When a massive walker herd approached Alexandria, the community was in danger. Negan stepped up and took charge of the plan to divert the herd. He coordinated the efforts and made sure everyone was safe.

This demonstrated that Negan truly cares about protecting Alexandria now. He has fully embraced it as his community rather than trying to destroy it as he did in the past.

Negan mentors Elijah

In episode 13, Negan takes young Elijah under his wing. He sees that Elijah is struggling with killing walkers, so Negan tries to help him overcome his fears. Negan confides that he too struggled with killing at first.

This mentoring shows Negan’s caring side. He wants to help Elijah adapt to survive in the apocalypse. Negan is also being vulnerable in opening up about his past struggles.

Negan lets Maggie kill him (almost)

In the emotional episode 22, Maggie and Negan have a final confrontation. Maggie needs closure for Glenn’s death. Negan kneels before her and tells her to kill him.

Negan is willing to let Maggie take his life if that’s what she needs. This shows he understands the pain he caused and is ready to face the consequences. Ultimately Maggie chooses to spare Negan, seeing that he has changed.

Negan wants to avoid war

When Lance provokes the communities into war, Negan vehemently disagrees with the plan. He argues they should try to find a peaceful solution instead of rushing into battle.

This shows Negan wants to avoid further bloodshed between the communities. In the past, he was often the instigator of violence and conflict. Now he actively argues against it, showing his change in perspective.

Counter-evidence that Negan is still Negan

However, there are a few hints that some aspects of the old Negan remain despite his redemption arc.

Negan threatens to “knock down” Alexandria

When a gate falls on Maggie, Negan initially refuses to help lift it off her. He threatens to let Maggie die and “knock down” Alexandria again.

This swaggering threat conjures memories of his attack on Alexandria in the past. It suggests that deep down, the urge to conquer Alexandria may linger within Negan.

Negan kills Elijah

Despite mentoring him earlier, Negan ends up viciously killing Elijah. This is reminiscent of his similarly brutal past killings.

However, Negan seemed to kill Elijah out of mercy and regretted having to do it. So this act does not necessarily erase his redemption, but it does show his capacity for violence remains.

Negan takes pleasure in battle

When the Alexandria group attacks the Commonwealth soldiers, Negan seems to relish the battle. He takes out multiple enemies and saves Ezekiel and Princess in the process.

However, the gleeful way Negan participates in violence shows he is not completely reformed from his bloodthirsty Savior days. The thrill of battle still appeals to him on some level.


In the end, Negan does indeed seem to have completed his redemption arc and become one of the “good guys” by season 11. His actions demonstrate a clear commitment to protecting Alexandria and doing the right thing now. He is helpful, caring, and non-violent in most situations.

However, glimpses of Negan’s dark side do occasionally reemerge. This indicates he still struggles to fully suppress his violent instincts and quest for control. So while Negan has certainly been redeemed, his past leaves lasting effects on his character. He strives to be good but occasionally falters.

Ultimately, Negan is neither a saint nor a sinner now. Like most characters in The Walking Dead, he falls somewhere in a morally grey zone. His development into a protector and caring mentor shows real growth and change from his villain days. But the complexity of being both “good Negan” and “bad Negan” is part of what makes his character journey so fascinating to watch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Negan feel remorse for his past actions?

Yes, there are many instances in Season 11 that demonstrate Negan’s remorse and regret for his past misdeeds. He opens up about his guilt over Glenn’s death and his willingness to let Maggie kill him shows he understands the pain he caused her. Negan makes an effort to build trust and do good to make amends.

What caused Negan to start changing his ways?

Negan’s years of imprisonment in Alexandria gave him time for reflection and introspection. Forming friendships with Judith, Lydia and others humanized him and made him start to care about people again. Negan realized the error of his brutal ways as the leader of the Saviors.

Does Negan revert back to his old ways at any point?

There are a few brief moments where Negan slips back into threatening behavior, like when he lashes out at Maggie under the fallen gate. However, these moments are temporary rather than a full revert. For the most part, Negan actively tries to make better choices and follow his moral compass.

Is the new Negan trustworthy?

Negan has certainly proven himself trustworthy through actions like saving Maggie and respecting Alexandria’s rules. However, some characters like Maggie understandably still have lingering doubts given their history. Ultimately, Negan seems committed to redemption, but he must continually prove himself trustworthy through his choices.

Why does Negan bond with kids like Elijah?

Negan sees parts of himself in troubled kids like Elijah. He mentors them and opens up about his past because he wants to help put them on a better path than the one he followed when he was leading the Saviors and before. Shepherding the next generation represents Negan’s rebirth.

Key Events of Negan’s Redemption Arc

Season Episode Key Event
Season 8 Episode 16 Negan is defeated and taken prisoner by Rick
Season 9 Episode 5 Negan saves Judith’s life
Season 10 Episode 11 Negan disposes of Alpha’s walker herd
Season 11 Episode 9 Negan rescues Maggie from walkers
Season 11 Episode 13 Negan mentors Elijah
Season 11 Episode 22 Negan kneels before Maggie and asks her to kill him

Negan’s Shifting Allegiances

Season Group
Season 6-8 Leader of the Saviors
Season 9-10 Imprisoned member of Alexandria
Season 11 Full member of Alexandria


In summary, despite some lingering traces of his violent, controlling past, Negan does indeed seem to have completed a redemption arc by Season 11 of The Walking Dead. His heroic actions and caring relationships demonstrate real change and growth. Negan strives to protect others and do good, showing he has shifted from villain to an ally of the protagonists. However, the complexity of his character means his past will likely always haunt him to some degree. Overall, Negan manages to find redemption without losing the edge that makes him such a gripping character.

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