Credit: AMC

Credit: AMC

We're now just weeks away from the return of The Walking Dead, and the reveal the world has been waiting for - just who was on the receiving end of Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) barbed-wire baseball bat Lucille when season 6 drew to a close?

Ahead of the UK premiere on FOX UK, just a day after its broadcast in the US, the network have released interviews with the cast of the show to tease the episodes ahead and what viewers can expect.

"The introduction of Negan was hard," explains Morgan, "but to play this role for me is a dream come true. It's the most fun I've ever had in my life, and that's horrible for everyone's sake."

He adds: "You won't be able to see Negan without thinking of the [season 7] premiere episode. What he does is so strong and so shocking. The way Negan inflicts damage is so original to Negan, that whenever he comes on screen you will not know what to expect.

"He talks a lot. He loves the sound of his own voice. Don't get lulled by that. The second you think it's another Negan monologue, maybe it's not."

Executive producer, showrunner and writer Scott M. Gimple says of Negan: "[He] has an incredible amount of power, both in his cult personality and his practical man power.

"He has legions and legions of people who identify themselves as him. He's got a system that has worked very well by him and it fairly immediately neutralised Rick and his group, who are quite formidable. Negan knows people. He knows human nature. He knows himself. For a powerful and smart person to know human nature that well - that is very dangerous."

So how exactly will Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) deal with such a change in dynamics? The actor himself offered some insight, saying: "We are seven years in and we are only unleashing now probably the greatest villain of the series. It's a very thrilling and exciting time. It does feel like we are smashing everything and starting over.

"The Governor was much more about secrets. You didn't know what the Governor was doing. Negan is very clear. He is very open with the people he meets. There is a charm, but there is a terrifying logic as well.

"Jeffrey Dean Morgan is amazing. He feels like a presence who has always been here. That's how easy it has been for his assimilation. He's also having a lot of fun, which is key to this kind of role. You need to be having a great relish. I love acting with him. He's so in it, and he makes great choices."

He added of the viewers: "I hope they recognise the effort and the commitment that everybody - crew and cast - has put into this returning episode, like always. It's palpable."

Danai Gurira who plays Michonne in the series says of her character meeting Negan: "She is in a moment of utter powerlessness, which is beyond maddening for her. There is certainly rage and a desire for something to just give them a little bit of a way out of this, but there really doesn't seem to be one."

Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) also notes how Negan uses 'psychological abuse' to gain power: "That makes him different and more dangerous than anyone we have ever faced before. In his mind, he is more valuable than anyone else and that is sickening."

The Walking Dead season 7 starts Monday, October 24 at 9pm on FOX UK.

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