The second half of "The Walking Dead's" sixth season sees the addition of Jeffrey Dean Morgan to the cast as Negan -- a character fans know from the comics -- who creator Robert Kirkman equates to an "atomic bomb" being dropped on the show.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the hit AMC series' return, Kirkman commented on the show's ever-changing cast and how Negan is different from other adversaries Rick has crossed: "As far as shake-ups go, we have lots of shake-ups from season to season...It keeps things interesting — keeps the blood pumping, I like to say — but Negan is kind of an atomic bomb that’s going to be dropped on the show and the show will probably never be the same after that. So buckle up, I guess?"
While he hasn't debuted on the series yet, the midseason finale of "The Walking Dead" introduced audiences to the Saviors -- a group lead by Negan -- who stopped Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham in the episode's prologue, and declared, "your property now belongs to Negan."
On the differences between the Saviors and other groups we've seen on "The Walking Dead," Kirkman said, "I think the Saviors are dangerously organized...The Wolves were psychotic, the Hunters [the group from Terminus] had a lot of weaknesses. When it comes to the Saviors, and Negan in particular, the way I’ve always thought about this in the comics is this is a group that’s led by a guy who’s had his morality dial a few clicks away from Rick toward the darker aspects of his personality, but is still an intellectual and capable leader who’s kept his group alive against all odds just as long as Rick has. It’s really the best encountering the best. When these two forces come head to head, things are gonna get interesting. This is a much different group than they’ve ever encountered. The Saviors are a group they’re not really prepared for."
"The Walking Dead" returns Sunday, February 14, on AMC.