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The Walking Dead: Andrew Lincoln talks Negan

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Gene Page/AMC

You would think the cast of The Walking Dead would be none too psyched about the arrival of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, seeing as how the big bad from the comic books is currently halfway through… you know, killing one of them.

But the longtime regulars have been super impressed with the job Morgan has done so far. “It’s such a great part and it’s so beautifully written,” says star Andrew Lincoln of Negan. “And he’s such an important part of the show, this character, that we needed an actor that could step up and take the bull by the horns and drag it forward, and make it his own. And certainly, that’s what we have this season.”

Ahhh, this season. We already know that season 7 (which premieres Oct. 23 on AMC) will begin with the continuation of that harrowing cliffhanger scene, and according to Lincoln — who was on set for at least that scene if nothing else in season 7 — we haven’t witnessed anything yet. “I think everybody got a sense of what this actor is capable of in the last episode,” says Lincoln. “But rest assured that that’s really just the beginning of what Jeffrey is creating. It’s very impressive and it’s great fun to work with him.”

Lincoln also thinks the addition of Negan is worth whatever subtraction in terms of characters we will have as a result of his presence. “Without the baddest of the bad guys, it wouldn’t be the same show,” says Lincoln. “And I think it’s breathed a new terrifying life into the show, and at no better time. What an extraordinary thing, to wait seven seasons to reveal the baddest of the bad guys.”

Extraordinary for everyone except whomever is on the receiving end of that bat.

For more Walking Dead scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.