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‘The Walking Dead’ midseason 9 trailer teases the return of Negan

The story of everyone’s favorite bat-wielding Savior appears to be getting another chapter, judging by the latest midseason trailer for The Walking Dead.

Negan, the charismatic and brutal antagonist of the last few seasons of AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead, makes a brief cameo in the network’s preview of the second half of season 9, suggesting that his imprisonment could be over. Of course, his freedom could be short-lived, given the threat posed by a new kind of zombie and the human killers who walk with them, known as The Whisperers.

Portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Negan presented former sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the rest of the series’ veteran characters with one of their most dangerous foes, and the conflict between Rick’s allies and Negan’s army not only brought many featured characters’ stories to an end, but also spanned multiple seasons of the show. Negan was last seen imprisoned in a jail cell, with little hope of freedom, let alone regaining any of the power he once wielded.

That appears to be changing, however, as the closing scene of AMC’s midseason trailer reveals a very free Negan, whistling a tune and declaring that he’s in “home sweet home.”

The departure of original series star Lincoln in the most recent midseason finale leaves The Walking Dead with a very different cast as it prepares to return for the rest of its ninth season. (Lincoln will return in at least one upcoming movie based on the series.)

The current, core cast of the series includes Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Austin Amelio, Tom Payne, Xander Berkeley, Khary Payton, and the aforementioned Morgan.

Newcomers to the series this season include Sons of Anarchy actor Ryan Hurst as Beta, and Samantha Morton as Alpha, two members of The Whisperers. Two more characters making the leap from The Walking Dead comic book series to the show include Lauren Ridloff as Connie, and Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, from the comic series. Fantastic Beasts movie franchise actor Dan Fogler will play an undisclosed role in the series and is glimpsed in the trailer.

The Walking Dead returns to AMC for the second half of season 9 in February.

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