Get Secrets of ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 6 Finale

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the walking dead, andrew lincoln

The big confrontation that fans of The Walking Dead have been waiting for is finally here. The survivors of the zombie apocalypse have spent the second half of Season 6 waging war against the Saviors, a band of marauding bullies who demand goods and supplies from smaller communities in exchange for protection. While there has been plenty of talk about Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the leader of the Saviors has remained absent from the action. But that all changes during the April 3 season finale, when Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the Alexandrians come face-to-face with the psychopath for the first time.

The Walking Dead

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan

“It’s like meeting the president or the pope,” says executive producer Greg Nicotero, who also directed the episode. “You don’t just walk into the Oval Office; you’ve got to go through 30 groups of people before you get there. That says a lot about Negan’s power and his reach.”

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Readers of the Robert Kirkman comic books on which the AMC drama is based are well acquainted with the foul-mouthed villain, who wields a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire named Lucille to brutally mutilate his foes. While fan-favorite character Glenn (played by Steven Yeun on the show) famously died at the hands of Negan in the comics, Nicotero stresses that everyone is in danger from Negan. “The finale is a complicated episode with a roller coaster of emotions,” he says. “The performances are some of the best that we’ve shot, and I really feel like it’s the best episode I’ve ever directed.”

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Even with death and destruction looming, The Walking Dead has made time for romance this season, and viewers have delighted over the pairing of Rick and fellow constable Michonne (Danai Gurira). “Rick is looking at living beyond tomorrow,” Nicotero says. “He needs to pave the way for their future, and if that means killing a couple of idiots in front of him, that’s what he’s going to do.”

But the apocalypse has been especially tough for Rick, as the former sheriff has already lost a number of key women in his life, including wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Alexandria love interest Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge). So should Michonne fans be worried about her fate? “Any relationship is precarious because of the world that we live in,” Nicotero says. “Not everybody associated with Rick ends up dead, but the show is moving into some amazing areas, and we’re still spreading our wings in the new world.”

The Walking Dead, Season finale, Sunday, April 3, 9/8c, AMC