On Sunday night's bone-chilling season six finale of The Walking Dead, the world was introduced to the most tantalizing -- yet terrifying! -- antagonist we've ever seen: Negan.
While we desperately wait to discover whose head was maliciously bashed, ET hopped on the phone with Negan himself, actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, to get the inside scoop on what's to come next year on the smash AMC drama.
"When season seven kicks off, it's going to kick off directly from where we left it last night," the star promised reporters on a conference call on Monday morning. "You're going to see who was at the end of that bat and what happens from there."
But before you start tossing around words like sociopath, murderer, and blood-craving sadist, Morgan did make a fair point while defending his character's vicious actions. "Rick has killed [at least] 20 of his men, so I feel like Rick is getting off real easy here," he said with a chuckle.
"People call him this psychotic guy but I never looked at him like that," he added. "I think there's a lot of similarities between him and Rick. If we were following Negan's story from day one of The Walking Dead, the audience would be rooting for him. They have very parallel storylines."
Despite the fact that Morgan's portrayal as the baseball bat-wielding villain will give us nightmares for months to come, we have to admit that there is something undeniably alluring about Negan.
"He's got something in him that makes people want to follow," The Good Wife star dished of his character's unsettling charm. "A little bit of that is him, and a little but of that is charisma, and a little bit of that is his sense of humor. Trying to mash all of that into one character and into one monologue is what I tried to do on the fly."
The 49-year-old actor pointed out that he only had "maybe two days" to prepare his chilling yet captivating 12-minute monologue. "That's a hell of an introduction for somebody to come in and do. It was very emotional for the whole cast and a couple of them didn’t make eye contact with me until the end of the second night," he confessed.
Although the news of Morgan's portrayal as Negan was only confirmed in November, the actor revealed that he's been waiting for the opportunity to play this villain for almost four years.
"I got approached [by fans] right when Negan was introduced in the 100th issue of the comic books," Morgan recalled. "Fans of the comic books gave me a copy of it and said, 'When they ever get to this guy, you should be this guy!' I was at Comic-Con, actually, and that was like in 2012 or 2013 or something, so I was very aware of the character."
Morgan, who admits to being a huge fan of both the series as well as the graphic novels, aims to honor the "tone" of Negan as best as possible. "Mostly it came from seeing the panels of the graphic novel," he said. "Negan's grin and attitude -- that was the skeleton of my character in those pages, so I just filled in the spots that weren't there."
The actor describes Negan as "one of the most well-rounded villains" of all-time, and season seven is going to delve deeper into his pre-apocalypse past.
"I was talking with Robert Kirkman last night after The Talking Dead and he's kind of doing the backstory of Negan now," he explained. "He used to be a used car salesman and that's all I know and I don’t think that there's much beyond that."
"But as an actor, I approach it as a guy that's a survivor and we're going to see Negan do some stuff in the next year that is not going to be very nice," Morgan concluded. "You've attached yourself to these characters and this is going to be the guy that ruins that for you."
Season seven of The Walking Dead will premiere later this year.
What did you think of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's portrayal of Negan? Who do you think was on the other end of that bat? Share your thoughts and worries with @LeanneAguilera on Twitter!