New Walking Dead Redemption Arc Is The Story Negan Should Have Had


  • Troy Otto’s redemption arc in Fear the Walking Dead is one of the best in the franchise, unlike Negan’s more chaotic and unclear arc.
  • Negan’s redemption story in The Walking Dead has been too long and lacking clear direction, causing confusion and uncertainty.
  • Troy’s death in Fear the Walking Dead actually enhances his redemption arc, solidifying him as a memorable and well-developed villain, unlike Negan.



The final episode of Fear the Walking Dead proves for the second time that Troy Otto has had one of the best villain redemption arcs of the entire franchise, and furthermore, that The Walking Dead’s Negan should have had something similar. Fear the Walking Dead recently completed its eighth and final season, bringing The Walking Dead’s first ever spinoff to an end. The last season was bursting with shocking twists and turns, including the return of Troy Otto after his supposed death in season 3, and in turn, the revival of his intense feud with Madison. Ultimately, this conflict is what brought the series full circle.

The Walking Dead franchise has had many villains in its time, with some of them being incredibly memorable, and others not so much. For one, Troy Otto’s return to Fear the Walking Dead was exciting because of his history with Madison and the long-held belief that he was dead. Plus, the series gave him a redemption arc that was satisfying for both the heroes and the villains. Unfortunately, other The Walking Dead bad guys have not been as lucky as Troy. For example, the franchise’s big-bad-guy-turned-hero, Negan, has had a chaotic villain arc that, in some ways, is still going to this day.

The Problems With Negan’s Redemption Story In The Walking Dead

It’s true that Negan has been redeemed by The Walking Dead franchise, but his redemption arc has not been nearly as clear-cut as Troy’s was. In fact, the question of Negan’s redemption sometimes feels as if it is still up for debate, even in The Walking Dead: Dead City. Just when it seems like Negan is the hero of the story, he returns to his questionable ways, constantly switching back and forth. In this way, Negan’s redemption arc has failed him by being too vague and too long. Considering that he’s been a part of the franchise since 2016, he really should be decisively good or bad nowadays.

Negan first appeared in The Walking Dead season 6, episode 16 in 2016 and continues to be a part of the franchise via 2023’s The Walking Dead: Dead City.

Furthermore, Negan’s villain arc has flopped because it hasn’t been updated in a long time. Though it took a while for his redemption to really begin, it hasn’t changed much from the start. Negan tries to be good, specifically in regard to his relationship with Maggie, but ends up reverting to his old ways. This is showcased when Negan attempted to kill Maggie at the start of The Walking Dead season 11. The franchise has had plenty of opportunities to freshen up Negan’s villain arc as well, including with his son and wife. But The Walking Dead has seemingly given up on defining Negan.

What Fear TWD’s Troy Redemption Arc Gets Right (That Negan’s Didn’t)

Troy talking on a radio in Fear the Walking Dead season 8 episode 10

The main reasons why Fear the Walking Dead’s Troy redemption worked so much better than Negan’s are that Troy’s arc was straight forward and came to a clear end. Although Troy has technically been redeemed twice in the series, both times it has been executed in a way where it is obvious that Troy wants to do better, and then he meets his fate via Madison. While some may be disappointed with both of Troy’s deaths, at least audiences are secure in the fact that Troy wanted to change. Both for Nick and for his daughter Tracy, Troy decided to change, and unfortunately, Madison did not let him.

In reality, this type of redemption arc could have happened for Negan as well. According to The Walking Dead comics, his relationship with Maggie has a similar vein as Troy and Madison’s, wherein Negan apologizes and promises to be better and Maggie has the chance to end him for good. Unlike Madison, she decides to spare him, believing that a sad and lonely life would be a better punishment. From there, Negan’s villain arc is essentially finished, and the two can move on. Unfortunately, the TV show did not follow this course of action, and Negan has suffered in return.

Troy’s Death Makes His FTWD Redemption Even Better

Daniel Sharman as Troy and Kim Dickens as Madison facing off in Fear The Walking Dead

In some ways, Troy’s death at the end of Fear the Walking Dead actually makes his redemption arc better. While it is true that it could have been satisfying to see Troy keep his promises to be a better person, the fact of the matter is that Fear the Walking Dead was coming to an end. Even if Troy did live, the probability of actually seeing his hero’s arc play out would have been minimal. Therefore, killing him instead is a more dramatic option. It turns him into a martyr. Plus, it gives Madison the satisfaction she deserves after Troy manipulated her with Alicia’s potential death.

The greatest thing about Fear the Walking Dead’s Troy ending is that it brings his story to a definitive end. Though he began as a chaotic and violent person in season 3, he ended his time on the series in a new place. His daughter and his wife inspired him to be better, to believe in second chances and mercy. And though Troy doesn’t get to experience this truth, his new ideals solidify him as a good person, and therefore, an amazing villain. With nothing else to say or do, Troy’s reputation ends with Fear the Walking Dead season 8, avoiding the trap that Negan fell into.

Troy Will Be Remembered As One Of The Walking Dead’s Best Villains (In All Shows)

Daniel Sharman as Troy Otto in Fear The Walking Dead

In the end, Troy’s redemption arc means he will be remembered as one of The Walking Dead’s best villains of all time. He perfected the balance between unhinged violence and heartfelt redemption. He secured his place on the show via his rivalry with Madison, which was so strong that it was able to return after five seasons without question. He grew over time and had reasons to become better, but still had to pay his dues. He dipped his toes into the best of evil and the best of good, and ended his arc on a very final note that means he will be showcased in this ideal way forever.

Overall, Troy got the best of both worlds, which is why he is a perfect villain. He received the best pacing, the best choices, and the best ending. Clearly, Negan missed out on all the opportunities, and at this point, he’s still trying to dig his way out of the villain trenches. Hopefully, after Troy’s successful Fear the Walking Dead arc, The Walking Dead can try to give Negan the same sort of treatment. In the end, he needs to leave his long villainous past behind in favor of something better.


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