This week was a…confusing one for fans of The Walking Dead franchise. AMC teased that it would reveal its crossover character, someone moving between TWD and Fear the Walking Dead, on Talking Dead this week. With a planned move to Houston and a timeline set well before Rick’s present day, the obvious choice was Abraham, free to film a new show after being killed off The Walking Dead at the beginning of season 7.
Instead, the character was…Morgan?
This confused many fans, as Morgan was both a current player on The Walking Dead, and though there are brief gaps in his past we don’t know about, he’s been a pretty fleshed-out character, and teleporting him halfway across the country for a brief period of time to line up with Fear the Walking Dead’s timeline seemed odd, if not logistically impossible.
But most pressingly, given his current role on The Walking Dead, and Lennie James detailing how this was a permanent move and he was sad to leave the cast and show behind, the question was obvious. Did AMC just spoil one of the biggest upcoming deaths of this season? Wouldn’t Morgan have to be killed off in order to make this work?
Turns out, maybe not.
The Walking Dead
New interviews with Lennie James and Fear showrunners seem to indicate this is forward motion, not a trip back in time that necessitates Morgan’s death. Here are the quotes:
“We look forward to working with Lennie to continue the journey Morgan began on The Walking Dead,” said Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, showrunners and executive producers for Fear the Walking Dead.
“To take Morgan into this new realm and landscape, to see who he could now be, to see where his story could go in the world of Fear the Walking Dead is wonderfully exciting and I am really looking forward to the challenge,” said James.
While I suppose all of these guys could be flat-out lying (and it wouldn’t be the first time for cast and showrunners to do so with The Walking Dead), it really does sound like this is a continuation of Morgan’s journey, as in, what happens after the Negan War. You wouldn’t really “continue a journey” by doing a temporary flashback to a random time in a character’s backstory.
This would solve a lot of problems, namely that the timeline makes almost no sense for Morgan to head that far west before returning east to meet up with Rick’s group once again. It also would mean that AMC did not spoil a major character’s death, spoiling instead a non-death, as this would make Morgan the only character that has to survive the Negan War which will end with season 8. I presume that he’ll be too scarred from the war or disagree too much with Rick and company and return to his wandering ways, and that’s how he gets west over an unspecified period of time. The fact that James is showing up to set already on Fear implies that his plotline is probably going to kick off pretty soon once the season 4 starts.
Fear the Walking Dead
But if this is true, that means a huge time jump is coming for Fear the Walking Dead. The last season ended in chaos, the group presumably scattered to the wind with Madison as the only confirmed surviving character, but these set photos show Nick, Alicia and Strand as well, alongside Lennie James. The show has never leapt forward by more than a few weeks at most, and remains anywhere from 1.5-3 years behind Rick’s group, depending on who you ask, so this would be a major shift for the show, especially given how last season ended.
This may also happen so Fear the Walking Dead stays in striking distance of The Walking Dead, which is teasing its own multi-year time jump at the end of the Negan War. It’s possible this is how Morgan leaves. We enter season 9 which is 3-4 years after the Negan War and there’s some line about “Man, we really miss Morgan, but I understand why he wanted to leave,” but hopefully they give him a more meaningful send-off than that. It would be a prime opportunity to shuffle the cast. I maintain that the end game for Fear the Walking Dead is not eventual cancellation, but a merge with The Walking Dead proper, and for that to happen, eventually the timelines will have to line up. So if one time jumps, the other probably should as well.
All in all I do think this means Morgan isn’t going to be killed off The Walking Dead, despite what his casting on Fear initially suggested. Yes, these quotes could be misleading, but him not dying actually makes the most sense given the state of both shows right now. I still wish Abraham was the pick, but if a time jump was required it now makes sense why he wouldn’t be.