Any fan of The Walking Dead knows that AMC makes more than a few diversions from the comic source material, even if recent seasons have trended more toward the books than ever. To wit, evidence has overwhelmingly suggested we’ll meet the next comic big bad Negan before long, and showrunner Scott Gimple may finally have confirmed his arrival in Season 6.

The recent casting of an “Orin” seemed unmistakably to suggest that a Negan-type figure would menace Rick Grimes closer to the Season 6 finale next year, the casting notice having taken little pain to hide it:

 

[ORIN] 30s to mid 40s. A physically imposing, charismatic, brutal, smart, ferocious, frightening, hilarious, inappropriate, oddly friendly, fun loving sociopath that is both a leader of men and a killer of men. He has both a practical and emotional intelligence, he’s a brilliant strategist, he’s pure, dangerous, murderous, often gleeful id, that still has both discipline and a code. And he has a temper that can vaporize people. He’s truly one of the strongest personalities ever…

 

TVLine had recent opportunity to question showrunner Scott Gimple on the seeming implication, which the Walking Dead boss seemed jovially reticent to shrug off:

 

When asked if “Orin” is actually “Negan,” showrunner Scott M. Gimple replied to TVLine, “I can neither confirm nor deny,” before cheekily adding, “It’s not the worst guess in the world. It’s difficult to get around your logic here.”

 

In the comics, Negan arrived on the scene as the feared and worshiped leader of “The Saviors,” a gang of vicious men many believe AMC’s rendition adapted as the mysterious “Wolves” glimpsed in Season 5. Not only that, but Gimple has previously referenced potential plans to introduce both Negan and good guy Paul “Jesus” Monroe, the latter of which we’ve already glimpsed on set, as played by Tom Payne.

Elsewhere of The Walking Dead Season 6, we know that Straight Outta Compton star Corey Hawkins has joined the series in the comic role of Alexandria runner Heath, alongside new additions Tom Payne, Xander Berkeley, Ethan Embry and Merrit Wever. AMC has also released clips and a few photos, amid previews of a fleshed-out comic backstory, while we’ve broken down the Season 6 trailer and previewed exactly how disgusting walkers will look, and all before digital FX.

Not only that, but Season 6 will also host installments of a half-hour special set on an airplane, a character of which will go on to a role in Fear The Walking Dead Season 2. Season 6 has also upped three Alexandria residents to series regular, though that’s certainly no guarantee of their survival.

We’ll likely learn for certain before the end of the year, but what should we make of Gimple’s words? Stay tuned for Sunday’s The Walking Dead Season 6 premiere for more!

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