The Walking Dead has gone through many changes in everything from cast to location to time period over the years, but no change will likely be as significant as the show moving on without Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes. Lincoln confirmed his upcoming departure earlier this summer, and fans will need to spend the next couple of months pondering how it will happen. Lennie James, who plays Morgan on The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, recently weighed in on how Rick's exit will impact Morgan:
Although Morgan hasn't been a regular on The Walking Dead from the beginning and actually went a couple of seasons without appearing, he was arguably the first major character to play a role on the show after Rick. Without Morgan, Rick would have undoubtedly died shortly after making his escape from the hospital. The two have been close allies at times while on opposite sides of the zombie apocalypse spectrum at others, and fans could choose who they wanted to root for. Would you stay behind or go on an unlikely rescue mission to Atlanta? Would you embrace pacifism or violence? Would you favor a stick or a revolver?
Fear the Walking Dead's midseason finale revealed that Morgan has his eye on returning to Alexandria; assuming he makes it, he'll find a very different settlement than the one he left behind almost two years ago, taking the time jump into account. Negan and the Saviors won't be the big threat anymore as the Whisperers enter the scene with Alpha at the head. If he does return to Alexandria, he may not make it in time to say goodbye to his first zombie apocalypse friend.
A lot likely depends on how Rick takes his leave of Alexandria. If he goes on a Morgan-esque walkabout in the zombie apocalypse, they could cross paths on the road. If Rick dies -- as we consider fairly likely in our compilation of awesome theories about his exit -- Morgan might never reunite with Rick, which will undoubtedly add an extra layer of tragedy. Personally, I would like to see how the two men interact now that Rick will truly be able to understand what Morgan went through after losing his son. Lennie James went on in his chat with Screen Rant to say this about how the absence of Rick could be especially profound for Morgan if he makes the long journey north:
From his comments, Lennie James seems to indicate that he didn't get to work with Andrew Lincoln again before Lincoln wrapped on The Walking Dead, but we don't necessarily have to give up on the possibility. It's not like James could spoil such a huge plot twist when The Walking Dead won't even premiere until October! If Lincoln sticks around until the midseason finale, we likely won't need to say goodbye to Rick until December.
For now, you can catch Lennie James in the zombie apocalypse when new episodes of Fear the Walking Dead air on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. For when The Walking Dead's Season 9 premiere will hit the airwaves (along with a bunch of other promising shows), check out our fall TV premiere guide.
Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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