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‘The Walking Dead’ Producer Gale Anne Hurd on Negan’s Entrance, ‘Brutal’ Twists to Come

Negan is coming! The Walking Dead season 6 has centered on the battle with team Negan (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and executive producer Gale Anne Hurd tells Us Weekly exclusively what fans can expect when the notorious and as-yet-unseen villain makes his long-awaited debut later this season on the hit AMC drama.

Related: PHOTOS: TV's Most Shocking Deaths

In describing Morgan’s portrayal of the popular character from the graphic novels, Hurd told Us at the Spotify House at SXSW on Thursday, March 17, that “anyone who loves Negan from the comic books will literally be cheering. They won’t be able to sit down at home or wherever they are. I think they’ll stand up and cheer.”

“He’s a completely different kind of character than we’ve had in the past, and honestly, I cannot imagine someone more perfect than Jeffrey Dean Morgan to bring him to life,” Hurd says in previewing the season’s final three episodes. “[Negan is] formidable, but he’s incredibly charismatic, and he acknowledges who he is and what he expects of people.”

Related: PHOTOS: The Walking Dead Stars: Before They Were Famous

Hurd — who has produced such hit films as The Terminator (which she cowrote), Aliens and Armageddon — points out that Negan’s entrance “changes the whole dynamic for everyone on the show.” She also promises that there will be plenty of him in season 7 as well.

Last week’s episode featured Carol (Melissa McBride) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) breaking free after they were held captive by Negan’s Saviors, and the two women ultimately struggled with the moral ramifications of burning a group of Saviors alive. Indeed, Hurd refers to Carol’s story line as “one of the most complex and interesting arcs on the show.”

Related: PHOTOS: The Walking Dead Cast: What They Look Like on the Red Carpet

“[Carol] is forced to kill again, and that really makes her wonder, ‘What is the future for me? Who am I? Can I consider myself a good person?'” the producer says. “And so she’s going to continue to battle with that.”

As to whether more deaths are on the horizon, Hurd points out that “no character is safe” and says cryptically, “It’s a brutal world out there.”

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in ‘The Walking Dead.’

Hurd is also an executive producer of the upcoming Syfy series Hunters, based on 2013’s best-selling Whitley Strieber novel, Alien Hunter. The series, which follows the disappearance of a Philadelphia cop’s wife as extraterrestrials infiltrate society, launches on April 11 and stars Nathan Phillips (The Bridge), Britne Oldford (American Horror Story: Asylum) and Julian McMahon.

Describing the show’s alien visitors, Hurd says, “They look very much like us, but underneath they have a different vertebra, they have a different bone structure, they bleed sort of silvery blood and they’re better at some things than we are because of the gravitational environment on their home planet.”

“The great thing about [the show] is that we’re able to use aliens in the way that science fiction is best, which is an allegory to examine terrorism that’s going on in the world today,” she continues. “So they are living amongst us. You can’t tell if the person next to you — your friend, your lover, your business associate — is a terrorist or not, and so we follow a unit, the exoterrorism unit, that is sent to try to track them down.”

The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. Hunters premieres on Syfy on Monday, April 11, at 10 p.m. ET.

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