One of the most anticipated characters of The Walking Dead comic series has been cast, and his appearance is confirmed for the upcoming third season. As announced my AMC, The Governor will be played by British actor David Morrissey, and will be the main antagonist for the survivors in season 3.

Morrissey lands a role that had been speculated to actually be season 1 baddie, Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) – though more recently, actors such as Danny Trejo (Sons of Anarchy, Machete), John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene) and horror film legend Tom Savini – the latter having publicly campaigned for the role. Morrissey’s long list of credits includes the political drama The Deal, where he portrayed Gordon Brown, and the 2009 Red Riding trilogy, which also featured The Amazing Spider-Man‘s Andrew Garfield.

The casting of Morrissey comes as a bit of a surprise, not only because the actor is basically unfamiliar to American audiences, but also because mention of The Governor by the show’s producers and writers has been limited, to say the least. This announcement suggests that the next season will take Rick Grimes and his group of survivors off of Hershel’s farm and, if certain story elements match up, into the abandoned prison.

As we have seen lately in the midseason premiere and ‘Triggerfinger,’ there are many characters that are out to secure their own best interests, and physical aggression toward other survivors is not something they seem to have a problem with (neither does Rick, but that’s besides the point). Fans can now speculate whether those survivors are part of The Governor’s larger group based out of Woodbury, or part of another group altogether. Regardless, the firefight that took place will likely have Rick on edge enough that his fate from the comics may well be avoided. Well, that and Robert Kirkman mentioned not long ago that regardless of what else happens, Rick Grimes should remain intact in the television series.

The Governor, as comic fans know him

Kirkman said at last year’s Comic Con,“One thing I’m adamant about is I don’t think that we should cut Rick’s hand off [on television].” 

So with The Governor cast, the key element missing from season 3 would be that of Michonne. Frank Darabont mentioned the samurai sword-weilding fan-favorite as an eventual addition to the series, and without being too speculative, it stands to reason that those plans are still in place.

A rumor that True Blood star Rutina Wesley had been offered the role was quickly squashed by the actress herself, so, as far as anyone knows, the character of Michonne is still waiting to be cast.

With speculation abound that Shane (Jon Bernthal) could be exiting the show soon, introducing a more overt, and obvious antagonist for Rick (and the others) to combat could move the series into very exciting territory.

Things heat up between Rick and Shane on The Walking Dead ’18 Miles Out,’ which airs Sunday @9pm on AMC.

Source: Digital Spy