For the better part of two years on Fox’s The Following, ex-FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) has pursued serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) through a long line of like-minded disciples as well as dead bodies. The two bitter rivals have been locked in a battle of wits, playing a dangerous cat-and-mouse game. But while Purefoy will return for season 3 when it premieres in early 2015, it seems his days as lead antagonist may be coming to an end.

Season 2 of the psychological thriller already relegated Joe to the background by choosing to also focus on a new cult led by Lily Gray (Connie Nielsen) and her twin sons Mark and Luke (Sam Underwood). And now with Joe in jail following the season 2 finale, and his ex-wife Claire (Natalie Zea) and their son Joey (Kyle Catlett) starting over elsewhere, it could be the perfect time for a new villain and storyline to come forward; one that will challenge Hardy in different ways.

Per The Wrap, Almost Human star Michael Ealy has joined the cast as a series regular and the new villain for season 3. In a departure for the actor, he’ll play a brilliant, chameleon-like killer who will push Hardy to the brink.

Michael Ealy The Following The Following Casts Almost Human Star as Season 3 Villain

Ealy is perhaps best known to genre fans for starring as the android Dorian in last year’s science fiction drama Almost Human on Fox. The series – from Fringe co-showrunner J. H. Wyman – premiered midseason to a lot of buzz, but it was ultimately canceled due to high costs and low ratings. However, the project did have at least one lasting result: It showed TV execs that Ealy could carry a leading role.

So what does this all mean for Joe Carroll? Well, first, there’s no doubt the character will be up to his old tricks in season 3, even from within a jail cell. And according to producer Marcos Siega at NYCC, Joe will still play a big part in the season story as Hardy regularly visits him in prison. Siega believes there is plenty more to do with his character, but when the day comes, that chapter will have its proper ending.

But what do you think, Screen Rant readers? Are you happy to get some fresh blood on The Following? Do you think the series could benefit from a change of pace? Let us know in the comments.

The Following will return to Fox sometime in 2015.

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