Which Walking Dead Star Convinced David Morrissey To Play The Governor

Morgan in Season 8 of The Walking Dead

There are few shows as popular as AMC's The Walking Dead. The long running apocalyptic drama is currently in the midst of its whopping eighth season on the network, with the past two seasons revolving around the fight against Jeffrey Dean Morgan's villainous Negan. But Negan isn't the series' first major villain-- that honor goes to David Morrissey's cycloptic psycho, The Governor. That performance earned the actor a Saturn Award nomination, but turns out that he sure if he originally wanted to join the zombie apocalypse. It took another Walking Dead cast member to convince him: Lennie James, aka Morgan. James recently accounted their conversation, saying:

I remember, me and David, when he was offered the part of the villainous Governor, we met up on Sunset Boulevard for a coffee. David said, 'What is it? Do I want to do this?', and I said, 'Um... yeah, you might do!'

In addition to saving both Rick and Carol throughout his run on The Walking Dead, it looks like Morgan helped out a series villain as well. So take that, Morgan haters.

Lennie James' comments to Digital Spy prove what a small world TV is, and how often actors know each other before working on projects. James and David Morrissey had previously worked together on BBC's 90s show Out of the Blue. At the point where The Governor joined The Walking Dead, we had only known Morgan from the show's very first episode. But the character would eventually return as a series regular in the past few years, making him one of three characters to have appeared in Episode 1 that are still alive (the others being Rick and Carl).

David Morrissey and Lennie James were like passing ships during their respective times on The Walking Dead. Morgan made a surprise appearance in Season 3 episode "Clear", after Rick's battle against The Governor had started. The episode saw Michonne, Rick, and Carl go on an supply run to find weapons for the impending conflict with the villain. That's when they happened upon Morgan, who was in the midst of one of his many psychological breaks. Now if only the episode also included a scene or two of The Governor in Woodbury, the the two buddies could have actually appeared on the same episode. I'm sure their FOMO is through the roof.

Many consider Season 3 to be one of The Walking Dead's strongest outings, as David Morrissey's Governor was equal parts charming and terrifying. And now it looks like we have Lennie James to thank, as it just wouldn't have been the same with a different actor playing the role.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC. In the meantime, check out our midseason premiere list and see if your favorite show got the chop with our cancellation list.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.