Welp, it's safe to say no one saw this coming. Talking Dead announced on Sunday night that it would be Lenny James' Morgan Jones who'll appear on The Walking Dead's prequel spinoff, Fear The Walking Dead. Talking Dead confirmed he'd be joining up with the FTWD crew as the story moves to Austin, Texas for Season 4.
Of course, next to nothing is known about what Morgan's arc will be when he meets up with Madison & Co., but he'll likely have Jenny and Duane, his wife and son, with him. To allay any fears that James' appearance on FTWD means he'll have to die on TWD because, scheduling -- chill. It was confirmed on Talking Dead that Morgan still has a lot of story left on the franchise's flagship show, so this announcement is not confirmation of Morgan's impending doom. Lennie James just finished shooting Season 8 of TWD, so he's not getting dead in the immediate future. Also, his presence on the spinoff must remain temporary if he's ever to wind up in Macon to meet Rick in the pilot, so this obviously can't be a permanent move. These characters will just be in the same place for an indeterminate amount of time. Frankly, we can't wait.
The crossover comes chock-full of narrative possibility considering Morgan's one of the most dynamic characters in the franchise. His struggle to maintain his humanity post-apocalypse remains one of the most provocative struggles on TWD. His appearance on Fear The Walking Dead will no doubt offer more insight into an already fascinating character study. There's still plenty we don't know about this guy, and there's a lovely symmetry in having one of the original three characters from the pilot being the first character to crossover to The Walking Dead's little sister. We're already tickled to envision what kind of interactions he'll have with Madison, if any.
Kudos to AMC, by the way -- Morgan's crossover is not only a brilliant choice, it's a shocking one that very few people saw coming. In an era when audiences devour information and speculation about the shows they watch, secrets are not easy to keep. In this case, TWD did so masterfully.
Fans had basically dismissed any current TWD cast member as a crossover possibility given perceived schedule conflicts between the two shows. Also, given that FTWD is moving to Austin in Season 4, most fans assumed that Michael Cudlitz's Abraham, a soldier who hailed from Texas, would be tapped to crop up again. It almost feels like that was the intent given how subtly Cudlitz fanned the flames of speculation on social media and refused to shave his trademark ginger Fu Manchu. Unfortunately, it looks like he just likes the style. Then again, just because Lennie James is the first crossover, it doesn't mean he's the last. Other than Robert Kirkman's insistence that he wants to keep each part of the franchise as independent from each other as possible, Morgan's heading to Texas and the Telltale game now features Michonne.
Obviously Abraham can't meet Morgan, but the timing's still right for him to be in the area, so fret not Abrafans -- there's still hope that sassy ginger might pop back up.
Were you shocked at the announcement? Ecstatic? Epically ticked off? Let us know in the comments!
Airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC, The Walking Dead stars Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee, Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, Lennie James as Morgan Jones, Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler, Josh McDermitt as Eugene Porter, Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan.
Fear the Walking Dead is projected to debut its fourth season in 2018. The series stars Kim Dickens, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Lorenzo James Henrie, Rubén Blades, Colman Domingo, Michelle Ang, Danay Garcia, Daniel Sharman, Sam Underwood, Dayton Callie and Lisandra Tena.