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That Time Jeffrey Dean Morgan Basically Played Negan on Sliders 15 Years Before The Walking Dead

Turns out Jeffrey Dean Morgan was already comfortable in the leather jacket.

By Trent Moore
Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) holds a bat in The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 11.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been acting for a long time, and had played plenty of iconic roles on shows like Supernatural and Grey’s Anatomy before he suited up in his trademark leather jacket to play the anti-hero Negan on The Walking Dead. But did you know he basically tested out the gig a couple decades earlier on the classic sci-fi series Sliders?

Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan Warmup on Sliders

One of Morgan’s earliest acting gigs came in 1996 in the science fiction series Sliders (stream the series in full on Peacock), which ran on SYFY back in the late 1990s (when it was still the Sci-Fi Channel). A fresh-faced Morgan, just 29 years old at the time, landed the role of the criminal Sid, who looks… well, basically like the spitting image of a young Negan, complete with the leather jacket and killer attitude. Which makes sense, considering Sid hails from an alternate Earth that’s basically a crime-ridden post-apocalypse.

The episode, “El Sid,” the fifth installment of Season 2, starts with Quinn (Jerry O’Connell) and the rest of the Sliders dropping into a violent world, where they see a young woman being assaulted by Morgan’s Sid. Quinn understandably opts to intervene, and with their next slide imminent, they take the young woman along with them — but don’t realize Sid tagged along before the slide closed and follows the gang along to the next alternate world.

For More on Sliders:
Why Was the Sci-Fi Series Sliders Canceled?
The Time the Sliders Made it Home but Didn't Know It
Why Did Most of the Original Sliders Cast Leave the Series?

(L-R) Kari Wuhrer, Jerry O'Connell, Melinda Clarke, Cleavant Derricks, Sabrina Lloyd in SLIDERS

In this new world, they land in a version of San Francisco that essentially functions as a penal colony, and everyone there is assigned a “buddy” they are tethered with to prevent them from breaking the law. Considering Morgan’s Sid is a hardened criminal from a world with no laws, he doesn’t mesh too well with the rules of this new world and sets off to start up a new crime spree.

The usual sliding chaos adventuring ensues, and sadly Morgan’s Sid only lasts the one episode; he ends up being shot by his ex-girlfriend, who was rescued by Quinn and the team, starting up the whole chain of events. They leap, and Sid is never mentioned again.

But though it’s just the brief one-episode appearance, Morgan certainly makes an impression. He flashes that love-to-hate-him bad guy vibe, and is truly channeling some young Negan energy that connects to how the character was portrayed in those first few seasons when he showed up in The Walking Dead.

Stream the entire five season run of Sliders right now on Peacock, including Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s proto-Negan performance.