For 10 seasons, with its 11th and final forthcoming, The Walking Dead has lumbered across AMC with a hit, splattery combo of zombie horror and character-driven drama. One of the fan favorite characters in recent seasons, a villain so potent and terrifying you can’t help but love to hate him, is Negan, played ferociously by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. And now, Negan’s family tree is growing: Per Deadline, we will be introduced to Negan’s wife Lucille in the remaining, newly ordered episodes of Season 10. And she will be played by Hilarie Burton, an actor who just so happens to be Morgan’s real-life wife.
Those familiar with Robert Kirkman‘s original comic book mythology know that Negan’s wife is named Lucille, and Negan named his barbed wire baseball bat after her. Before the zombie apocalypse — sorry, walker apocalypse — Negan was cheating on her regularly before learning she was dying of cancer. He broke off his affair and spent as much time with her as possible, and as she died in her hospital bed, she was soon thereafter reanimated as a walker. Will her appearances in Season 10 be this same backstory? Will we get some humanization of Negan? Will Lucille show up as a walker and cause some havoc? Or will we all get blindsided and surprised with something brand new?
Morgan and Burton have previously collaborated together on the sci-fi series Extant, and also co-host the AMC video chat show Friday Night In with the Morgans, which the two produce from their farm in upstate New York, which is as charming as it sounds. Beyond their work together, Burton has also appeared in One Tree Hill, The Secret Life of Bees, the Lethal Weapon TV series, and White Collar. She took to Twitter to share her excitement about the new casting:
Been pretty hard to keep this a secret. But I love working with Jeffrey Dean Morgan. I love watching him become Negan and take on that swagger. And I love The Walking Dead family. They’ve been a part of our family for ages and I’m so grateful for their kindness. Xoxo #hereslucille
For more on The Walking Dead-verse, here’s an interview with the World Beyond showrunner.