Brace Yourselves: The Walking Dead Is About to Take a Brutal Turn

A new cast member foreshadows horror ahead.

Each season of AMC’s The Walking Dead seems more brutal than the last. From the cold ruthlessness of the Governor to the macabre cannibalism of Terminus to the unrestrained savagery of the Wolves’ attack on Alexandria this season, things just keep going from bad to worse for Rick and his ragged band of survivors.

Enter Negan.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been cast as Negan, the vicious leader of group of survivors bent on subjugating other enclaves like Alexandria. Negan will reportedly appear for the first time in The Walking Dead‘s season 6 finale.

Readers of the comics know that Negan makes the Governor look like Mr. Chips on Xanax. The merciless psychopath, leader of The Saviors, psychologically and physically tortures Rick’s fledgling community of survivors in Alexandria for years, culminating in the capture of Rick, Carl, Maggie, Glenn, and others after a bloody battle and (spoilers) the gruesome execution of Glenn with a baseball bat covered in barbed wire, lovingly named “Lucille.” Among his other crimes: psychologically breaking Carl after a debilitating injury, gutting his followers at the drop of a hat, and marching on neighboring communities like Alexander the Great. Negan, to put it mildly, is bad fucking news.

Despite significant departures from the comics — mainly the introduction of fan favorite Daryl Dixon — Negan and his war on Rick’s group was always in the cards for the TV series. “There are astonishingly brilliant and thrilling characters that I am convinced we would be idiots not to meet in our journey,” Andrew Lincoln, the actor who plays Rick Grimes, toldTHR back in February. “I would be very surprised if we don’t see Negan on the horizon in the not-too-distant future.”

Lincoln added that Negan’s appearance will represent a new era in the show’s evolution, a shift from scavenging and theft to more feudal violence between communities of survivors:

“What struck me, that I’ve always been excited about, is we’re coming into the sixth season of this show … and it’s the medieval part of The Walking Dead comic, where you realize that there are these isolated communities but don’t really know other ones exist … they’re all building and forming themselves with their own image. And then there’s a clash of those communities. That, to me, is really interesting and when it gets really exciting with all the action. It turns into this insane, near-apocalyptic landscape that we’ve never seen before. That is almost a reimagining and a restart for society and humanity. And that is such a rich thing to tell.”

If there’s a silver lining to the storm clouds on the horizon for The Walking Dead fans, it’s that Negan’s coming horror likely means that our beloved Glenn isn’t dead just yet. The bad news is that, well, everybody dies sooner or later — and if Glenn’s still alive, his days are certainly numbered.