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Father Gabriel Actor Confirms How He Really Feels About Negan On The Walking Dead

AMC's "The Walking Dead" has had its fair amount of twists and turns over its 11-season run, while spawning several spin-off shows along the way. The loyalty and alliances of each of the characters constantly shift, based on whichever dire situation they are facing next. One such character, Father Gabriel Stokes (played by Seth Gilliam), is no such stranger to such moments. Gabriel, who originally appeared in Season 5 of "The Walking Dead," has often struggled with choices he made in the past, regarding saving — or not saving — innocents. That decision has weighed heavily on the character's psyche.

Meanwhile, there's Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), no stranger to a guilty conscience himself. In the most recent episodes, the conflict between Maggie (Lauren Cohen) and Negan comes to a head, when Negan nonchalantly admits to letting Maggie fall behind — leaving her to the devices of the zombies — only for her to escape and put Negan back in the spotlight. 

The group has little reason to completely trust Negan, but he does have at least one person in his corner — and that's Father Gabriel. Here's why.

Father Gabriel and Negan are 'friends'

In an interview with Insider, Seth Gilliam said that the priest views himself as responsible for redeeming Negan. "I think [Father Gabriel] views Negan as a reclamation project that was successful, that he has successfully rehabilitated this totally self-driven man into being a member of a community [...] I had this joke with Jeffrey. It was like — I think Gabriel was ready to start shooting people in the back for Negan at that point, because these are Maggie's people. I don't know these people. You know what I mean? I spent years working on this dude. You know, this guy is a friend at this point." 

Father Gabriel and Negan have shared history, with Negan having even having saved Gabriel's life during the events in the Sanctuary. After how long Gabriel has worked on Negan, one could almost say that he trusts Negan more than Maggie's group. If you watch closely you might notice how Father Gabriel lingers towards the back, as Maggie's group verbally and physically accosts the tyrant-turned-antihero. He even tries to get Negan to defend himself. "I think, [Gabriel's] only lie to [Negan] was [saying], 'You're just admitting it? [Gabriel hoped] that would draw out a more extensive answer so that the people could see that Negan is not just this evil dude, that there may have been something else going on there." This effort is cut short, as Negan is violently tossed up against a wall.

At this point in the series, most of the characters are bound together, as they prepare to face off with the unified threat of the Reapers. The tension is palpable. The question, going forward, is whether or not Father Gabriel will be proven right with his backing of Negan, or not.