Fear the Walking Dead showrunners weigh in on Morgan's fate
SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Sunday’s season finale of Fear the Walking Dead.
We first met Lennie James’ Morgan in the pilot episode of The Walking Dead. But did Morgan just meet his end on the season 5 finale of Fear the Walking Dead? It sure appeared that way when he was shot by Ginny and then left alone crumpled on the ground with a walkie-talkie in hand urging his friends to “just live” while zombies closed in as the episode — and season — ended.
Showrunners Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss would neither confirm nor deny that Morgan was, in fact, about to meet his maker when we got them on the line to ask about the big finale shocker. That seems to indicate that the seemingly impossible escape may be possible after all. We also talked to the showrunners about the John and June wedding, the revelation that Grace is pregnant (instead of sick), and what everyone being separated by Ginny means for what’s to come in season 6. Read on for intel and insight!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, let’s just jump right to it. You know the first question I have: Morgan has been part of the Walking Dead universe since the very beginning. Is he meeting his end here?
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: What I’ll say is we heard Morgan’s final message that he spoke over the walkie that he hopes everyone in his group hears. The last words he said were “just live”, and we’re going to see A) whether everyone else heard that, and B) whether they’re going to be able to do that. But the biggest question, which we’re not going to give an answer on one way or the other is whether or not Morgan can do the very same thing and follow his own advice.
Well, I mean, it looks bad! He’s been shot. He is sitting there alone, can’t really seem to walk or anything. And there are some walkers coming right up on him. What does that mean for him?
IAN GOLDBERG: Oh, you said it. It certainly doesn’t look good for Morgan. We’ve seen Morgan survive some pretty scary things in the past, but this might be the biggest test he’s faced yet. He’s completely alone. He’s without his entire group. He’s been shot. He’s got walkers encroaching upon him. So you know, as Andrew has said, he tells everyone else to live, whether he’ll be able to do that, we’ll have to see. And we’ll have to see if even his message reached the rest of the group because there’s nothing that tells us that anyone even heard. So that’s a question for season 6.
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: And I think it’s a larger question than just whether or not Morgan’s going to live. It’s whether this whole way of life that he was trying to build of trying to be better and trying to make the world a better place, whether that’s going to be able to live or whether that’s going to die as Ginny tries to have her own way.
I want to delve a little deeper into those last words of “Just live,” because ultimately so much of this episode is that question of: What is it to live? That’s the question they have to ask themselves when they place that call to Ginny, because “just live” can mean different things. Does “just live” mean to stay alive to fight another day, or does it mean to live your fullest while you’re still around to do it? I can put multiple interpretations of that.
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: Yeah, for sure. And I think Morgan’s intention in that moment was to let everyone know that the things they had been fighting for, the decisions they had made and, and namely the decision to try to keep Grace alive even though it looked like there was no future, we’re about protecting the future. Morgan finds out she’s pregnant, and I think he’s trying to deliver that little bit of hope. But I think on a more global scale it is addressing the questions that Morgan and everyone else had been wrestling with all season.
We saw one of the biggest examples of it in this episode, even though June and Dorie knew Ginny was on her way and knew that they were most likely going to get separated, they still decided to go forward and have this wedding. And that really is a viewpoint that everyone has come around to embracing in the apocalypse amongst our group. They’re living in a world where they don’t know what the fate is going to be from one moment to the next and they’re just going to make the most of every moment. And that’s why it was so important for the group to have that wedding and hold onto a piece of the way the world used to be, the things that make surviving worthwhile. So, that wedding was a very bittersweet moment because it was June and Dorie kind of professing their love to each other when they know that it may be the last time they ever see each other again.
We’ll see what happens to Morgan, but what was Lennie James’ reaction when you told him about this episode and how things were going to end up?
IAN GOLDBERG: When we pitched it to Lennie, he’s always very sensitive to what it means for Morgan and what it means in the journey of his character. And where we’ve taken him this season has been to some places that we had never seen him go before. The one that comes immediately to mind is his connection with Grace. The way that he’s able to in the finale articulate that he has feelings for her, which is something he hasn’t been able to do with anyone since the loss of Jenny and Duane. And even in the moment when he knows that they’re being separated and they may never see each other again, the fact that he’s able to articulate that he sees a future there, even if it’s one that they may never get, that’s huge for Morgan because that is him starting to heal the wounds and ghosts of his past.
So Morgan has come a long way. The bittersweet part of it is that this season was about rallying behind a philosophy in a way of being in the world of benevolence and helping people as a redemptive path both for Morgan and for everyone. And they were able to do that for a lot of people. And unfortunately, in the end, that way of life is meeting bit a roadblock right now with the way Ginny’s separating everybody. But it doesn’t mean that what Morgan did wasn’t kind of extraordinary with these people. And so despite all the progress he’s made, Morgan does end up alone at the end of the season. But that doesn’t mean that it was a loss. He was fighting for the right things. He came a long way personally, emotionally and as we said, we’ll have to see if this is the end of the line for him.
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: And I think one of the things that Lennie found attractive about that endpoint for Morgan this season, whether he lives or dies, is the fact that Morgan has gotten himself to a place where he feels like he’s made up for a lot of the things that he’s done. And Lennie described that feeling as he was delivering that final walkie message as one of pride that he and the rest of the group were able to hold onto who they were. And along the way, they were able to save a lot of people. So whether or not this is the end for Morgan, I think he in that moment feels satisfied knowing that he has made a real difference and come a very far away from where he was when he joined Fear in the beginning of season and definitely far away from where he was in the pilot of The Walking Dead.
Okay, I struck out in trying to get a definitive answer from you guys on Morgan’s fate, so I’m going to try to get a definitive answer on this one. Was that indeed Sherry that we hear over Dwight’s radio at the start of the episode?
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: I think you probably should know better about getting definitive answers. But I will say that there have been quite a few clues in the back half of the season pointing to the fact that Dwight might be getting closer to Sherry than he’s been before. And Dwight has found himself in such a conflicted place because of that. He doesn’t want to be reunited with Sherry in any way that is going to make him feel like he is obligated to anyone. And that’s one of the things that really made him feel so adamant that he didn’t want to come under Ginny’s control, because if he ends up with Sherry and if it’s because of Ginny, I think he is fearful that is just going to tarnish their relationship. And it’s going to essentially repeat the same exact thing that happened when Dwight and Sherry were together at the Sanctuary.
I think we can say in season 6 we probably will get some more answers and Dwight will end up perhaps ending his search. And I’ll leave it at that.
Obviously, the other big bombshell at the end is that Grace is pregnant. This is something they’ve dealt with on the other show before but a first for you guys in terms of a pregnancy and maybe possibly a birth at some point coming here on the show. Have you all mapped out what this is going to look like a moving forward for Grace?
IAN GOLDBERG: We have, and I can’t tell you what that map looks like right now, but yeah. I think what excites us the most about that story is kind of what Morgan says in his final speech to Virginia, which is, “It’s all about the future.” That she was pregnant and literally was carrying a symbol of the future inside of her is pretty amazing. And so what’s going to be interesting is Ginny’s also somebody who is obsessed with the future, and you saw kind of a smile cross her face and she laughed when she got the revelation from the doctor that Grace was pregnant. So that baby might have some significance and importance to her, too.
But yeah, it’s a very big thing. And also, we’ve talked about Morgan and his articulating his feelings for Grace, but there’s also now on top of his just feelings for her — if there’s a baby in the mix it would be tragic if just when Morgan finds out about that he were to meet his end.
Last year ended with everyone coming together on this new mission with the boxes. This year couldn’t be more different with everyone ripped apart into different cars. Even Daniel and Skidmark were separated for God’s sake. You monsters! What sort of tease can you give us in terms of what that means for season 6 when things pick back up?
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: I think what we’re really excited for in season 6 is the fact that everyone got split up and we’ve already heard Ginny reference the fact that she has quite a few settlements under her control. She is like a colonizer. She is like someone who franchises these settlements and comes in and fixes things and then kind of seizes control. But it means we’re going to see a lot of different places and get a lot of different flavors and we’re going to be able to dive in really deeply with our characters.
As you know, we watched them struggle to be apart, as we watched them fight to get back together. We will see whether or not some people buy into Ginny’s philosophy, or if they will try to hold onto those words that Morgan’s spoke out over the walkie. We’re really trying to set the stage for a different kind of storytelling than we’ve done before on the show. And you were very upset by Skidmark and Daniel being separated. We can say that Daniel’s going to want that cat back, and Skidmark may want to be back with the Daniel, so maybe we’ll see the apocalypse from the point of view of our own Milo and Otis.