When The Walking Dead return next month, change is coming. The first eight episodes of the sixth season have been building to an explosion and that explosion is imminent.
The second half of the season will be "drastically different from the first episodes," Andrew Lincoln tells TVInsider, although he admits, "Episode 9 is almost a chapter finish." It's likely to be the "chapter finish" viewers wanted in the midseason finale back in 2015. Beyond that, "the next seven episodes are this crazy race to a new world order," he says.
Not only will we meet Tom Payne's portrayal of fan-favorite character from the comics, Jesus, when the show returns but eventually we'll see Rick Grimes cross paths with the sinister leader of the Saviors, Negan. Lincoln is putting the pressure on Jeffrey Dean Morgan to nail the role, saying, "This is probably one of the most important castings other than Rick. He's a beloved fan-favorite, but also a huge foil to Rick and his family. Everybody needs a good baddie, and this is the one that a lot of people have been waiting for for quite some time."
Though viewers have already been terrified by a big bad in David Morrisey's Governor, Lincoln promises the two are very different and makes Negan sound a lot more of a handful. "The Governor was magnificent and David did a beautiful job playing him but Negan is horrific," Lincoln says. "He is this incredible tyrant and this very charismatic, funny, brutal beyond words sociopath. I'm interested in the relationship between Negan and Carl and Carl and Rick. There's a very complicated, extraordinary psychology between those characters. I'm just thrilled that we are getting to a place where it feels very deep, dark, thrilling and dangerous."
The path to Negan begins when The Walking Dead returns on February 14 at 9 PM ET on AMC.