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Ever since Fear the Walking Dead was announced as an official companion series for AMC's flagship juggernaut, fans were immediate to question whether or not the two shows would ever attempt a big crossover. And though both shows' creative teams featured their own crossovers, such as comic creator Robert Kirkman, all involved denied the fictional version would happen...until they all announced that it definitely IS happening at some point in 2018. And on tonight's episode of Talking Dead, it was finally announced that Lennie James' Morgan Jones will be the first character to appear on both of the Walking Dead franchise's shows. Woo!
Like just about every Walking Dead fan out there, we had lots of guesses about who the mystery crossover character might be, and we're not disappointed with the big reveal that Morgan will be making the trip from Walking Dead prime to Fear the Walking Dead's timeline in the past. As seen on Talking Dead, Lennie James is already in Austin getting ready to start filming on Season 4 of Fear, just a week after he finished up with filming Season 8 footage for The Walking Dead.
Interestingly, in Scott Gimple's announcement to fans, he said that it was Morgan's run in Season 8 that led them to decide that he would be the one to make the jump from one show to the next. Which brings up all manner of questions about how Morgan found himself in Texas for any amount of time between his "going clear" madness and the zen master that he became after his time with Eastman, prior to tracking Team Family down and finding Rick again in Alexandria. The timing of everything seems quite suspect, assuming Morgan wasn't affected by the particle accelerator explosion that gave The Flash his powers. But maybe he got around by using a helicopter or something. Wouldn't that be crazy?
Many fans thought that Abraham would be the big crossover character, given his origins in Houston, and those fans were likely just as shocked as we were to see Lennie James' face. It was made clear that even though Morgan will be appearing on Fear the Walking Dead, he still has a lot of storyline left to go in the flagship series, so this isn't some kind of a replacement gig for him.
Honestly though, Lennie James sounded like he was finished with The Walking Dead for good while talking with Chris Hardwick; as in not making it to Season 9, though he might have just been talking about filming for the season. Which then makes us wonder why his Season 8 storyline is what inspired the crossover choice. Morgan has gone from "kill 'em all" to "kill no one" to "kill 'em all" in his time as a regular character in this universe, and he's at the point where he found himself close to getting violent with a fellow "good guy" recently, which cause him to make an exit. Will he get to the point where Rick (or someone else) kills him for taking things too far? Possibly not, but Talking Dead guest Melissa McBride noted it was an emotional moment to see Lennie James in that moment, which could indicate they won't be working together in the future.
Aside from this huge reveal, there have been other crossovers within The Walking Dead universe's other media formats, most interestingly within Telltale's video game series, which started off with a set of characters that were completely independent from the comics and TV show. I seem to recall crossover talks similarly being squashed whenever the first (and possibly second) game came out, but the third game in the series ended up being a Michonne spinoff that centered on what happened to her and other characters during the comic series' big time jump. That game's follow-up, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, expanded that universe even more, even bringing Paul "Jesus" Monroe into the story. For years, the games' fans have been calling for the young heroine Clementine to get brought into the TV show, so maybe we'll see that happen if this TV-exclusive crossover is as successful as we hope.
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The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET, and somehow only two episodes are left in the first half of Season 8. Meanwhile, Fear the Walking Dead will return to AMC next year at some point, with new showrunners, new characters and a new location in mind. For those who want to know what other new and returning shows are on the way, hit up our fall premiere schedule and our 2018 midseason premiere schedule.