'Walking Dead's' David Morrissey Returning as Series Regular in Season 4

The Governor
Gene Page/AMC

David Morrissey enters as The Governor, the first human Rick and the group will have to square off against. "It's very different from what you know of the character from the graphic novel, with the long stringy hair," executive producer Greg Nicotero says. "In the graphic novel, the minute he meets Rick, the hand comes off and all of this crazy stuff goes on."

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday's season three finale of AMC's The Walking Dead.]

The Governor will return on AMC's The Walking Dead.

David Morrissey will be back when the zombie drama comes back for a fourth season in the fall, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The British actor initially signed on for a one-season role to play the famed villain from the comics created by Robert Kirkman on which the TV series is based. When his casting was announced in February 2012, AMC noted the actor would "appear in The Walking Dead season three."

PHOTOS: 'The Walking Dead's' Most Shocking Deaths

During Sunday's third season finale, with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the Governor headed for war, the ruthless leader of Woodbury brutally gunned down the bulk of his army and hit the road with two dedicated soldiers. It left the door open for the confrontation to continue when the series returns for its likely October bow.

In the Image/Skybound comics, the Governor fails to survive a brutal showdown at the prison with Rick. Many, including THR, speculated that the character would be among the dead when the series wrapped its bloody third season, which most recently claimed regulars Laurie Holden (Andrea), Michael Rooker (Merle) and recurring player Dallas Roberts (Milton).

Talking with THR earlier this season, executive producer Kirkman said he'd like to avoid having one human "big bad" per season, with producers raving about Morrissey's multilayered performance as the Governor -- leaving the door open that the villain could potentially survive the season. "The potential is always there -- or he could die in the next episode," he said. "This is The Walking Dead; you never know."

PHOTOS: The 'Dead' and the Red: 'The Walking Dead Cast in Character and on the Red Carpet

"Do I want to keep David Morrissey? Yes! Do we? I can't tell you. There are so many colors to his performance. In the comics, he's pretty one-note, but here, he's got so much more humanity," EP Gale Anne Hurd recently told THR.

Are you glad to see Morrissey returning? Do you think the Governor should have been killed off this season? Hit the comments below with your thoughts.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit