The lion's share of screen time and attention on The Walking Dead (opens in new tab) has traditionally gone to Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes, but as the show enters its seventh season that is poised to change. Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been confirmed as a series regular for season 7, and his villainous Negan will be just as important and influential a character as Rick going forward:
"I mean, it’s really, Rick is now, if you really think about his journey in the comic books, he shares the spotlight with Negan in the comic book. Negan now has some ownership over what the show is about", producer Greg Nicotero told Deadline (opens in new tab). "I think it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better for our group, and it’s pretty intense. I mean, the show, we’re sort of opening a new chapter".
This lines up nicely with what Lincoln told us at San Diego Comic Con (opens in new tab) recently - specifically, that Negan's introduction means he "gets a bit of time off (opens in new tab)" - and that's good news for fans of the Walking Dead comic who have long waited to see Negan brought to life on screen. Here's hoping Morgan and co can meet their expectations.
Season 7 of The Walking Dead will debut on AMC in October 2016.