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Crossing Fear the Walking Dead over with the flagship Walking Dead series has been something fans have wanted since the spinoff was first announced. And through the role of Lennie James' Morgan Jones, that mega-crossover will finally go down when Fear starts up in the spring. It turns out James was initially skeptical about changing shows, but later decided to join Fear the Walking Dead after thinking about how many new things he could learn and discover about his mentally weighted survivor.
I did have real reservations, because I have a lot of love for Morgan as a character that I've created. I'm very protective of who he is as a character, but also of his legacy within the world of The Walking Dead. . . . I've been associated with Morgan now for going on eight years, on and off, and I've kind of got to a point where I think I pretty much know him. I can confidently say out loud I know at any one moment what Morgan is thinking and what he might be doing, and one of the things that attracted me to this new landscape of playing Morgan is the possibility of being surprised by him, of finding out new things about him and new possibilities and what happens to him when he encounters people who aren't familiar to him in the way the people in the [Walking Dead] group have been.
Few Walking Dead characters have experienced as many fundamental shifts as Morgan has. When we first met him in the series premiere, he was a normal man facing extraordinary circumstances. When we saw him again in Season 3, he was off the deep end with grief, but he returned in Season 5 fully centered and mentally equipped, thanks to his time with quasi-mentor Eastman. At this point, Morgan has fully completed his latest transition, and he's no longer of the belief that all souls are important; rather, he seems to be in line with Rick in thinking that the only good Savior is a dead one. But he'll apparently have something new to do when we first see him in Fear the Walking Dead Season 4.
Lennie James is obviously quite familiar with what it's like to be in Morgan's headspace, and we're going to see more of that headspace as The Walking Dead Season 8 continues. But it should be quite an interesting and different experience to watch Morgan meet and interact with a bunch of characters who have no clue about his past and what he's had to do to survive. Of course, he won't know anything about Madison, Nick, Alicia or anyone else in the Fear the Walking Dead ensemble (assumedly), so there will likely be a lot of trust-building exercises for all involved.
As Lennie James pointed out to TV Insider, Morgan did get a taste of an all-new community whenever he first visited the Kingdom, but one familiar face kept it from being a completely new experience.
We got some of that when Morgan went to the Kingdom and Carol was there. But Carol knows Morgan's history, so I'm really excited about this kind of blank new canvas that Scott and Andrew and Ian over here at Fear have offered me. I'm really looking forward to exploring all the possibilities.
I think we can assume that Morgan won't get immediately killed off in the Fear the Walking Dead premiere, unless the possibilities he's exploring are about burial options. It's still up in the air how Morgan will fit into the Dead-verse beyond the time-jumping Fear season, but he's definitely welcome to stick around until both shows are finished.
Morgan will return to form when The Walking Dead hits AMC with the back half of Season 8 on Sunday, February 25, at 9:00 p.m. ET. You can then catch Lennie James on Fear the Walking Dead when that kicks off on Sunday, April 15, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what non-zombie fare is heading to the small screen soon, head to our midseason premiere schedule.