ATLANTA, July 14 (UPI) -- Jeffrey Dean Morgan -- who made a memorable appearance on the Season 6 finale of The Walking Dead -- has been promoted to series regular for Season 7.
The Wrap reported that Morgan, who plays the charismatic villain Negan, and Tom Payne, who plays the main characters' resourceful ally Jesus, will both be major players when the zombie-apocalypse drama resumes in October.
Entertainment Weekly released the first image from Season 7 Wednesday. It shows a smiling Negan staring down the length of his barbed-wire covered baseball bat Lucille. Behind him can be seen several of his followers and a glimpse of the motor home Eugene [Josh McDermitt] was driving in the finale before he was captured.
Season 6 ended with Negan bludgeoning to death one of the show's most beloved characters, however who that was will not be revealed until the Season 7 premiere.