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When The Walking Dead returns next month for Season 6, fans will get to see the show’s central characters facing some of the biggest obstacles of the series yet, from massive walker herds to personal turmoil within Alexandria’s walls. But things will probably get slightly better down the road for most of the survivors, and that’s presumably when they’ll run into the show’s newest cast member, Salem’s Xander Berkeley, who is taking on a major role in the show.
At this point, it hasn’t been confirmed exactly who Berkeley will be playing – and it’s apparently being kept top secret for some reason – but we’re pretty sure we know who it is. (That is, unless Scott Gimple and Robert Kirkman decide to switch things around on everyone.) This role’s casting announcement was revealed a few weeks ago, and included character descriptors like narcissistic, self-preserving and egotistical, but with the kind of charm that’s inherent to a car salesman or a politician. In my mind, there’s only one person that description matches up to, at least when considering everyone from the comic books. (And no, it’s not Negan.)
If our guesswork is on the money – in a world where money is all but useless – then we think Berkeley will be taking on the role of Gregory, the leader of the Hilltop Colony that Rick and the survivors will eventually make their way to later on in the series. Gregory is basically a proxy leader who views his own interests as more important than those of the people under him. As you can imagine, he’s something of an antagonist to the more righteous-minded characters, but his all-around cowardice doesn’t make him too much of a standalone threat, at least on the page. Berkeley would be a solid choice for Gregory, as he can play both the smarmy nice guy and the vicious asshole with aplomb. And according to TVLine, the actor has a series-regular option in place for Season 7, which strengthens our belief that he’ll be playing a long-term character from the comics like Gregory is.
While he definitely has a lengthy movie resume, Berkeley has also been all over TV in his 34-year career. His most notable roles have been in shows such as 24, Nikita, Being Human and the aforementioned WGN America drama Salem. The past year has seen him pop up on everything from Justified to 12 Monkeys to Longmire to Zoo, so he should be right at home on The Walking Dead.
We won’t see Berkeley show up until the back half of Season 6, but while we’re waiting on that, we can feast on the first half, which will premiere on Sunday, October 11.