Film, TV and stage star Jamie Foreman has been cast in the role of Derek and will make his first appearance on the BBC soap in the winter.
As he arrives in Walford, Derek quickly seizes the opportunity to rule the roost among his family again - but he also has a bigger ambition as he strives to become King of the Square.
Speaking of his casting, Foreman commented: "I am hugely excited to be joining such an iconic show. EastEnders is full of fantastic actors so it is a role I couldn't refuse. The Brannings are such a great family to be joining and I am extremely interested to see how Derek is going to fit in."
Pictured left: Jamie Foreman. Pictured right: Branning siblings Jack, Max and Carol.
EastEnders' executive producer Bryan Kirkwood added: "Loyal EastEnders viewers may know that the fearsome Derek Branning, eldest son of Jim, has been a shadowy presence looming over the rest of the family for years. So it's a real coup to sign Jamie Foreman to play the biggest, baddest Branning brother.
"Jamie has an incredible acting pedigree, having starred in some of the best British movies of recent times, and we can't wait for him to bring his unique talents to Walford."
As Derek settles into Albert Square life, viewers will be left to wonder whether he is the same dangerous and destructive man he used to be - and whether his family will welcome him back into the fold.
An EastEnders insider teased: "Out of all the Brannings, Derek is the one that most people fear. Although he can be charming, he will be the one that can out-alpha almost any man in Albert Square - maybe even Phil. He is going to cause a lot of disruption to his family."
Foreman has previously appeared in a number of productions including Nil By Mouth, Gangster No. 1 and Oliver Twist.
EastEnders fans previously saw Derek on screen for a brief appearance in 1996, with actor Terence Beesley playing the role.
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Watch a clip of Terence Beesley playing EastEnders' Derek in 1996 in the video below: