Spoilers below for the latest episode of The Walking Dead, titled "One More."
With the extended Season 10 episodes, The Walking Dead fans are witnessing stories and character beats that probably wouldn't have existed in this form had the pandemic not turned the AMC drama's schedule completely around. So we might never have met new characters Elijah and Cole, we might not have learned as much about Daryl's first love interest Leah, and we might have not have witnessed the most recent episode's blink-and-miss-it easter egg that had fans believing that The Walking Dead was paying homage to Lennie James' Morgan Jones and the drama's very first episode.
Well, more specifically, the episode "One More" featured a quick easter egg that appeared to be dedicated to Morgan's son, Duane Jones, as portrayed in that lone installment by Adrian Kali Turner. For those who didn't catch it, you're definitely not alone, and if you did catch it and made the rather easy Walking Dead connection, you're not alone either. Check out the image below and peep the bourbon bottle that Seth Gilliam's Father Gabriel and Ross Marquand's Aaron are drinking from while they're inside Mays' shelter.
That's right, hidden in the shadows is the very distinctly named "Duane Jones Bourbon," which understandably inspired some misplaced celebrations and speculations about Morgan's son still surviving out there in the world somewhere, clearly having honed his distilling skills. Plenty of fans who caught the liquor bottle's distinct name took to social media to share their thoughts and hopes for Duane Jones' potential return in Season 11.
The biggest avenue for theorizing ties the presumed-dead TV character Duane to the presumed-dead comic character Elodie, Michonne's daughter who makes a shocking return to her mother's life after the protagonists discover the Commonwealth community. There are quite a few fans out there who would apparently love to see Duane take on the live-action version of Elodie's story, even though Lennie James' Morgan isn't even on The Walking Dead proper anymore. Of course, Fear the Walking Dead could also very well find a way to bring its characters to the Commonwealth, but no one should expect to see an older Duane in there, trading booze recipes with other citizens.
After The Walking Dead's "One More" finished, AMC's latest episode of Talking Dead aired, and even though neither Chris Hardwick nor the guests actually brought up Gabriel and Aaron's boozy drink of choice, the liquor bottle's name did get explained during a fun-fact interstitial. Read it below:
The whiskey Father Gabriel and Aaron are drinking in this episode is called Duane Jones Single Barrel 22-year-old Bourbon. Writer and Co-EP Jim Barnes chose this name as an homage to the actor Duane Jones, who played the main protagonist in Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.
It's somewhat baffling that this explanation doesn't mention the character Duane Jones at all, considering his death was the main factor behind Morgan "going clear" in Season 3 of The Walking Dead, as well as all of the up and down arcs regarding the character's sanity in the years after that. Morgan even spoke about his lingering grief over Duane with Karen David's Grace on Fear the Walking Dead, with Lennie James also having discussed the character's hesitance to start a new family, so it's obvious that the shows' creative teams haven't forgotten him. Maybe they didn't want to associate a liquor brand with a character who was 10 years old the last time viewers saw him.
Of course, it's not as if these details are mutually exclusive from one another. The Walking Dead comic book character Duane Jones was named in honor of the Night of the Living Dead star of the same name. So in essence, Morgan's son and that $2,000 bourbon are connected, just not in the way that any fans hoping to see Duane again probably hoped.
The Walking Dead has three episodes left in its extended Season 10 run, with the eleventh and final season set to kick off on AMC later this year. We're definitely going to see new characters soon as more survivors reach The Commonwealth, even if Duane Jones almost definitely won't be among them. While waiting to hear more, check out why guest star Robert Patrick thinks fans should be worried about Father Gabriel after that brutal episode.