There are a lot of new elements in the upcoming fourth season of Fear The Walking Dead Season 4 — several new cast members have joined, Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg are in place as showrunners and production has moved to Austin, Texas. Of course, there’s no bigger change than the arrival of actor Lennie James — who has played Morgan Jones on AMC’s flagship The Walking Dead since Season 1.
Morgan is the much-hyped first character to cross over from one Walking Dead show to the other, something that for years folks like franchise creator Robert Kirkman indicated would not happen. Morgan’s mere presence on Fear The Walking Dead prompts questions, such as what this means for the timeline between the two shows — as Fear has traditionally been taking place earlier in the zombie apocalypse than is sister show, and Morgan has been an active presence on The Walking Dead up through its current season.
These questions and more were asked — if not fully answered, due to a fear of spoilers — at a visit to Fear The Walking Dead‘s Austin set in late January, where CBR and three other outlets got a chance to talk to James about what Morgan’s move to Fear means for the show, his character’s dynamic with other series newcomers like Garret Dillahunt’s John Dorie, why he was creatively energized by the shift and whether or not a return to the original The Walking Dead is possible.
So when are we?
Lennie James: When are we? That’s a good question. You’ve started with a question I’m not going to answer. [Laughs]
What’s different about Morgan now that he’s on Fear The Walking Dead as opposed to The Walking Dead?
To be absolutely honest, I don’t know yet. We’re kind of early days. We’re only on episode 6.
He’s made a decision about who he is to people, and who he wants to be to people. That’s obviously involved, in the storytelling, a shift in location. We’re about to discover who he is and what’s changed about him.
What’s the relationship between Morgan and Garret Dillahunt’s character?
It is two men who are on serious missions. They’re not just wandering. And they come across each other. For the moment of the story we’re telling, their journey joins together.
So much of Morgan’s journey is driven by his relationship with Rick. Is there any relationship here that will mirror that? Anybody in particular he clings to?
Again, it’s going to be a difficult one to answer, because it’s still early days, so we don’t know. We’re shaping the story. It’s the beginning of relationships. It’s a weird one, because we’re in the beginning, middle and end of different relationships in the early part of the telling of the story so far.
How is it for you coming to this show, and to Texas?
It’s weird. I had a week between the end of seven months in Atlanta, and the beginning of seven months in Austin. It’s a little bit of a blur. This is usually the time when I’m recovering from seven grueling months, and I’m not. It’s a little strange, but I’m kind of enjoying it. It’s exciting.
All the reasons I said yes to doing it are here and being manifested. It’s exciting. It’s a new group of people. It’s a different aspect of Morgan, and who he’s been, and the potential of what could happen to him — it’s a very weird situation to be associated with a character as long as I’ve been associated with a character, and then have that character reborn, in a way. It’s exciting.
Who was the first people you met out here? What was the introduction to the Fear family like?
My first couple of days filming were with Maggie and Garret. Those were the early weeks, because we were all the newbies — costumes, makeup tests, camera tests. I then met the rest of the guys.
It’s an odd one. It’s a show that’s been going for three years, and is having this influx and big story point in the beginning of Season 4. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays with people who don’t know the show as much as it does with people who do know the show.
What was your last day on The Walking Dead set like?
It was a breeze. No one noticed I’d gone. [Laughs]
It was as you’d expect, really. Some of it was obviously stuff I’m not going to tell you. It was a difficult one. That’s a hard set to leave. It genuinely is a good bunch of people, and it was a place that I enjoyed working. That’s why I hung around there for so long. As has been said over and over again, it’s not an easy shoot. But it’s a fun shoot, and most of the reason why it is a fun shoot is that fantastic cast and that fantastic crew.
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