It’s been several days since The Walking Dead’s season 7 premiere, and the pop culture world at large is still buzzing about the brutal kills that Negan inflicted with his trademark barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat Lucille. Some have held up the episode and its deaths as an example of The Walking Dead operating at its best, while others have criticized the gruesome nature of what happened to Negan’s victims, even when compared to prior deaths that have occurred on the series.
Of course, Negan isn’t the first important character in a popular series to be brought to life by actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan. During the early years of The CW’s now elder statesman drama Supernatural, Morgan portrayed John Winchester, father to the heroic duo of Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles). While John definitely loved and cared for his sons, he was also a very hard man to live with, and a very stubborn person in general. With John it was his way or the highway, and while Dean usually fell in line like a good little soldier, Sam wasn’t always so accommodating.
Still that didn’t stop fans – along with Sam and Dean themselves – from mourning John’s death back in season 2. Unlike most major characters to have met their maker on Supernatural, John Winchester has never returned to the series, at least not in present day form. A young version of John has appeared in episodes involving time travel, but obviously was not played by Morgan. However, Morgan’s ties to Supernatural’s legacy still run deep, which makes a recent Twitter exchange between Ackles and Morgan concerning Negan’s actions on TWD all the more amusing:
@JensenAckles J. You weren't supposed to find that. Gonna need her back son. I mean... I already gave you my car. And? I don't know? Sorta, died for you.— Jeffrey Dean Morgan (@JDMorgan) October 27, 2016
Yep, ur right. Copy that. I'll wrap it in this red scarf I found and overnight it to you. https://t.co/tHs7wTC8dQ— Jensen Ackles (@JensenAckles) October 27, 2016
While the exchange between Ackles and Morgan was obviously meant in jest, it’s interesting to consider the possibility that Negan might be some kind of alternate universe version of John. After all, maybe TWD’s version of John Winchester lost his sons early on, then lost his mind from grief and ultimately assumed the Negan identity. It’s a far-fetched notion to be sure, but such is the fun of posing hypothetical scenarios.
Considering how many times the Winchesters have inadvertently caused horrific catastrophes, it’s possible that it was a screw-up by this universe’s John that led to the zombie apocalypse in the first place. As a character in the classic zombie epic Dawn of the Dead said, when there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth. All kidding aside though, it’s nice to see that Ackles still has so much love for his former TV dad, regardless of said dad’s current penchant for crushing skulls.
The Walking Dead season 7 airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC. Supernatural season 12 airs Thursdays at 9pm on The CW.