Even since Robert Kirkman surprised fans at New York Comic Con back in October by announcing that The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead would be crossing over in some form in 2018, fans have been speculating as to which character would end up on which show. Finally, we have some answers.
It was announced on Sunday’s episode of Talking Dead that Lennie James’ Morgan would be joining Fear the Walking Dead’s fourth season, which is just beginning production in Austin, Texas — with James starting filming tomorrow (Monday, Nov. 27) on his new show. The character comes as something of a surprise, as fan theories on the crossover had centered on Michael Cudlitz’s Abraham Ford (because the character is from Houston, where Fear hinted at moving in season 4) and Kim Dickens’ Madison Clark (due to her Southern accent indicating she could be related to one of the characters on TWD). And while speculation centered on the crossover just being an appearance or two, sources tell EW that James will indeed be a series regular on Fear, meaning he will be an integral part of the next season.
Big questions remain. As far as matching up the show timelines, Kirkman pointed out in July that “Fear the Walking Dead takes place roughly around the time of season 1 and beginning of season 2 in The Walking Dead.” During that period, Morgan was separated from Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and we only know bits and pieces of what he was up to, so the gang from Fear — which set up a move to Texas in the season 3 finale — could potentially meet up with Morgan without any sort of time jump, while acting as a flashback for the Walking Dead character, even if he meets an untimely end this season on TWD.
Or there could be a Fear fast-forward that puts the events of that show concurrent with those now on TWD, with Morgan moving on from Alexandria at the end of season 8 and then encountering whoever is still alive on the spin-off.
The fates of every single Fear character outside of Madison were left in limbo at the end of season 3 due to the bursting of the dam. That was done to give creative freedom to new showrunners Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss, who now take over for Dave Erickson (with The Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple overseeing both shows). New additions Garret Dillahunt and Jenna Elfman will also be joining the show when it picks back in 2018, and now it appears they will have some company from a true Walking Dead veteran.
Appearing via satellite on Talking Dead, James hinted that his character will not be returning to The Walking Dead — which just finished filming on season 8 — saying, “The hardest part of it from beginning until now has been leaving The Walking Dead; leaving that cast and leaving that crew. And I’ve said my goodbyes to the cast and stuff, and I’ve said my goodbyes to the crew.”
Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick also read a message from Gimple saying that, “Even though Morgan is going to be featured on Fear, he still has a lot of story left on The Walking Dead.” (That, of course, could just mean in the rest of season 8.) Gimple also explained that “Morgan’s arc on The Walking Dead season 8 positioned him for the story on Fear. It was also important too see Fear’s world and characters through new yet familiar eyes.”