We already know that two more characters from Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic series, Heath and Denise, will be making their first appearance in the television series this season (played by Corey Hawkins and Merrit Wever, respectively). We also understand that Ethan Embry — from Can’t Hardly Wait fame — will be joining the cast as an Alexandrian, and his character will be a composite of several other characters from the comics.
The most anticipated arrival on The Walking Dead since The Governor, however, is Negan, maybe the biggest, baddest villain in all of The Walking Dead history. Based in appearance on Henry Rollins, he’s the leader of what’s basically the zombie mafia: He shakes down other communities in exchange for protection from zombies. There have been rumors that Jon Hamm could ultimately land the role, and Hamm himself has expressed a willingness to take on the part.
The question is, when will Negan finally make an appearance on The Walking Dead? It could be sooner than you think.
Casting calls and rumors based on set photos have revealed that the Hilltop Colony may make an appearance this season, along with a character who sounds suspiciously like Jesus from the comics. Comic readers know that once Jesus arrives, Negan won’t be far behind. Jesus makes his first appearance in issue 91 of the comics. Negan arrives in issue 100 (season five ended at around issue #77).
“It’s absolutely a possibility. And when I say it’s a possibility, we have a plan in place, but there’s a couple variables for that plan that we’re deciding about. It really depends on a few factors as we move into setting up the last bit of the season story-wise.”
To me, that sounds like Gimple and Co. might be looking to end the season with the first appearance of Negan, perhaps as a tease for season seven. The “factors” may very well be in casting and availability.
For the record, Jon Hamm has one movie filming and another in pre-production, but surely he could squeeze in a season finale cameo before joining the series full-time in 2016, right? Then again, the role could be a multi-season commitment, and Jon Hamm may not be interested in getting right back into a television series.
I bet Henry Rollins is available.