Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been cast as Negan on the AMC television series The Walking Dead, according to THR.
Morgan, who had leading roles in Watchmen and The Losers, was reportedly chosen for the villainous part after an “extensive search” by the network.
THR says some sources are saying that the character, which is part of Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead comic book universe, will first appear on the show in the Season 6 finale, which will be directed by Greg Nicotero and written by Robert Kirkman, and is scheduled to air on April 3, 2016. Production on the finale is set to begin this week in Atlanta, GA, where the series has been filmed since the start. The TV series is currently five episodes into its sixth season, and will air the mid-season finale on November 29, 2015, before taking hiatus until February, when it returns to complete the season. The actor will then be a series regular in Season 7, the start date of which has yet to be announced.
Negan is a character fans of the comics have been waiting for to show up on the TV series. He’s a violent, foulmouthed villain who leads a group called The Saviors, who use mafioso “protection” tactics to intimidate and control communities. In the comics, the group laid their reign of terror down on the Alexandria Safe Zone, which is where Rick Grimes and his people currently reside in the TV show. Negan made his debut in the comics in Walking Dead #1, where he gave one of the major characters a horrifically violent and memorable death, courtesy of his signature barbed-wire covered baseball bat he calls Lucille. As of the last published issue (#145) the character was still alive. If you thought the Governor was terrifying, what until you get a load of Negan.
Several actors were being considered for Negan, including Timothy Olyphant, Matt Dillon, and Garret Dillahunt, before Morgan landed the gig. The actor starred as the has-been superhero The Comedian in Zack Snyder’s big-screen adaptation of Alan Moore’s comic Watchmen, and had roles in The Losers and Jonah Hex (both comics adaptation). He’s currently a regular on the CBS drama The Good Wife, and had memorable roles on Supernatural and Grey’s Anatomy.