He’s baaaaaaaack! You wouldn’t expect a guy who kept his zombie daughter chained up in a secret room, killed his girlfriend, and then mowed down his own townspeople with a machine gun to simply give up, would you? The Walking Dead‘s big baddie known as the Governor reemerged at the tail end of the Nov. 10 episode with his (one) eye firmly focused on the prison and the inhabitants who drove him away. Why is he back? Where has he been? And what’s his next move?
Thankfully, answers are on the way, as the AMC drama will now begin to delve into what has happened to the former Woodbury leader since driving off with his two henchmen at the end of season 3. And according to the man who plays the Governor, David Morrissey, that includes examining the character’s mental state since his emotional breakdown after the failed assault on the prison. “It’s like a red mist has descended on him,” says the actor. “And I think what we’ll see in the coming episodes is someone who is coming to terms with that new person that we saw at the end of season 3 — whether he’s embracing that person or fighting that person. He’s definitely changed.” Promises Morrissey, “What we will see is where that change has taken him.”
There was about a seven-month time jump between seasons, and showrunner Scott M. Gimple confirms that beginning with the Nov. 17 episode, “there will absolutely be a flashback element” to fill in the blanks of the Governor’s story since we last saw him, including how he has dealt with devolving from charismatic leader into pariah on the run. “That town did very much make up that man’s identity,” says Gimple. “And his purpose. And everything he was fighting for. And asking the question What’s left after that? — we’re gonna answer that question. We’re gonna show that.”
How the Governor reacts to what he has done and what he has become will ultimately dictate what his current intentions are in reappearing at the prison, and Morrissey says it could go either way. “He is a man that has lost everything. And I think what we see coming up is how he deals with that loss. He’s a dangerous man. We see him standing outside that prison, and we don’t know whether he’s come in peace or come in war.”
As for what Morrissey has been up to since last season, the actor used his time away from the show to star in a pilot for AMC called Line of Sight, in which he plays a transportation-board investigator who survives a plane crash. The new gig led many to speculate that Morrissey’s Dead character would be killed off, but he says fans shouldn’t jump to any conclusions. “I really hope to make it to season 5 of The Walking Dead,” says Morrissey. “It’s been made very clear to me that this is my show, and I want to be a part of that.” Somehow we doubt Rick Grimes would say the same.