Don't Expect Fear The Walking Dead To Follow Dwight's Story From The Comics
Major spoilers below for the latest issues of The Walking Dead's comic book series, so be warned if you don't want to learn what happens on the page.
With Season 5, Fear the Walking Dead will once again play hose to a major crossover with the flagship Walking Dead series. Following in Lennie James' footsteps will be Austin Amelio as the down-on-his-luck Dwight, who will somehow cross paths with Morgan, Alisha, and the rest of the Fear crew. But I think we can say with some definitiveness that Dwight's future in live-action will have very little to do with his comic book storyline.
Let's take a deeper look at where Dwight's story was left off in Season 8, and how that compares to where things were going in the comics. Then, we can talk about his current comic story, and how hard it would be to make it happen on Fear the Walking Dead.
How Dwight's Story Had Already Changed
Beyond the over-emphasis on Dwight's obsession/connection to Daryl, by way of crossbows and motorcycles, the TV character's early days were at least somewhat similar to how Robert Kirkman originally crafted him. His facial scarring had a slightly different origin, too, but still, both mediums saw him becoming a trusted and high-ranking member of Negan's Saviors, so that's the foundation.
Similarly, both Dwight's journey in the comics and the TV show turned him into a double agent, where he began feeding Rick's crew intel about Negan's actions, allowing the protagonists to get the upper hand. (Not an intentional pun about Rick's missing comic appendage, but it works.) It's around this point when the stories really divert from one another, however.
Live-action Dwight wasn't exactly welcomed into Team Family very willingly, with Daryl, Tara and others always seemingly seconds away from trying to rip his throat out. Comic characters obviously had issues with Dwight during this time, too, but they were not as heated. This is largely because the TV show made Dwight responsible for Denise's death, whereas he'd killed off Abraham in the source material.
Another big difference between the two Walking Dead iterations is that Comic Sherry was still around after Negan was eventually defeated. Her relationship with Dwight was kaput, though, and it was hinted at that Sherry had previously chosen to become one of Negan's wives. She ended up rebelling against Rick, looking on as Dwight was almost murdered by one of her cohorts, and she soon died after making an attempt on Rick's life. (Her neck was broken on a table.)
On the flip side, the more virtuous TV Sherry made the choice to once again flee the Sanctuary to be away from Negan's grasp, but without burning any bridges with Dwight. She left a letter of explanation as his last beacon of hope for a better life, which gave him a reason to go look for her, leaving behind everyone who'd wished him dead in recent weeks and months. That's where things left off with Dwight, basically.
Where Comic Dwight Goes From Here
It's been pretty clear that The Walking Dead Season 9 has marked arguably the biggest gap between the comic book storyline and the TV narrative, with Carl long dead and Rick getting taken away to another community. Neither Dwight nor Sherry have been heard from in ages, and it wasn't very obvious that the AMC franchise would return to Dwight's story at any point. Especially considering nearly nothing about his comic storyline is intact for TV.
After the two-year time jump that followed Negan's defeat and subsequent imprisoning, Comic Dwight was tasked with being the leader of the leftover "Saviors" who didn't want to join any of the other communities. As a soldier in the pre-apocalypse era, Dwight served as Rick's formidable, if not entirely confident, military leader through the next couple of arcs, including the big Whisperers War that the TV show is gearing up for.
Already, it would be virtually impossible for Fear the Walking Dead to give Dwight this kind of storyline, since Fear doesn't have any armies for him to lead, or any big villains to plan to destroy. Of course, this likely means that TV viewers don't need to worry about Dwight being taken out like he recently was on the page.
In the final Walking Dead issue of 2018, quite a few Alexandria residents were making their first visits to the vastly expansive Commonwealth community, led by the somewhat shady Governor Pamela Milton. Many suspicions were raised about the Commonwealth's seedy underbelly, and Dwight tried convincing Rick to start a coup, quickly letting his emotions get the best of him.
Later, after purposefully getting into trouble in an attempt to stage a coup, Dwight makes an uncomfortable altercation worse by holding Pamela at gunpoint, guided by the belief that her death will bring peace and freedom to the Commonwealth. His plan was quickly cut short by Rick, who instinctively shot Dwight in the head, killing him.
To be sure, I'm definitely not promoting the idea that Dwight won't eventually get killed off on Fear the Walking Dead, because that is always an option for any character in this universe. Rather, I'm specifically saying that Dwight's story almost definitely won't include him dying under these circumstances.
It is true that, because they're so far away from Alexandria, Hilltop and the other major communities, the Fear the Walking Dead characters possibly have a better shot of coming across the Commonwealth, depending on where it's located in the country. But then Dwight also might be able to reconnect with Sherry somewhere along the line, which would further change things up from the comic books. All in all, I can't wait to see what happens next.
In the "Letter Hacks" section of Issue #187, one fan asked if Robert Kirkman had preconceived Dwight to be a double/triple-agent within the narrative, and Kirkman's answer speaks to the ebbs and flows of the creative process.
Fear the Walking Dead will return to viewers at some point in 2019, and the Season 5 premiere will likely come soon after The Walking Dead wraps up Season 9. Stay tuned for more details, and keep the midseason TV schedule in mind to keep track of all the other big shows hitting primetime soon.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.