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The Truth About Where The Walking Dead's Negan Got His Leather Jacket

Contains spoilers for The Walking Dead season 10, episode 22 — "Here's Negan"

Sometimes in an episode of The Walking Deadthe biggest threat to the lives of its central group of zombie outbreak survivors is simply a group of rabid zombies. More often, however, the biggest threat to humanity's survival is other humans. When The Walking Dead introduced Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in its sixth season, he was the most formidable human foe the series' protagonists had faced yet, commanding a cult-like survivor group called the Saviors. Due to both his considerable influence over his followers and his own villainous disposition, Negan was and still remains one the most powerful antagonists from The Walking Dead.

After his defeat following multiple seasons of conflict, Negan ends up imprisoned by the central group of survivors in the Alexandria Safe-Zone, and ultimately softens over time. Though he's not quite a do-gooder now, Negan no longer acts evil to the extent he did in his past life. The final episode of The Walking Dead season 10, entitled "Here's Negan" and currently available to watch on AMC+, dives into Negan's backstory and revolves around the character in light of his quasi-reformation. The episode's many flashbacks to Negan's defining moments even include an origin story for his signature leather jacket.

A relic of another time

One of Negan's key identifiers during his days as The Walking Dead's primary antagonist was a barbed wire-covered baseball bat, which he named Lucille after his deceased wife. The modified bat was entirely an invention of the zombie apocalypse, necessary for the antagonistic role Negan played to zombies and humans alike amidst societal collapse. "Here's Negan" reveals that, by contrast, his signature leather jacket was a character trait of his dating back to pre-zombie apocalypse days.

In the episode, Negan is shown obtaining his jacket in a series of flashbacks to some of his formative moments, both pre- and immediately post-apocalypse. Rather than acquiring the jacket through illicit means as he might be compelled to do later on, Negan simply purchases the jacket from a store for $600. 

That said, his wife Lucille (who's still alive at that point) attempts to return the jacket in light of Negan's splurge coming in the wake of losing a job. Post-apocalypse, however, she reveals that she never ended up returning the jacket, and gives it back to Negan as a gift. Thus, Negan's jacket remains not just an identifier of his character, but also a connection to his dead wife that persists into The Walking Dead's present.