With all of the death AMC’s The Walking Dead deals out, there should be more time spent on the living. The zombie drama series is set to return this October for its seventh season with an answer to the major Negan death-related cliffhanger, but there are some interesting stories related to members of the ensemble who have survived thus far.
One fan-favorite character is Morgan, played by Lennie James. The character only appeared sporadically during earlier seasons of the show, before becoming a full-fledged cast member this past season. Interestingly enough though, Morgan was almost going to join the cast a season earlier than he did.
Discovered by Entertainment Weekly, a commentary track for the episode “Here’s Not Here” on the season 6 Blu-ray features showrunner Scott M. Gimple and James revealing early plans for Morgan’s introduction into the cast. The initial plan was to actually bring Morgan in at the end of the season 4 finale. Morgan was going to be involved in the whole Terminus incident. Gimple explains:
“At the end of “416,” Rick would say, ‘They’re screwing with the wrong people’ and a gentleman would come out of the shadows of the train car and he would say, ‘Yeah, they are.’ And that would be Lennie, as Morgan. And it looked like it almost could have happened.”
“We almost made it happen,” James continued on the commentary, only for Gimple to explain what held them back:
“The time was right. But Lennie had a commitment to another show [Low Winter Sun], which allowed us to do something super cool, which allowed Morgan to go on a journey after this episode in season 5 to see how he catches up to Rick and the group.”
With the Morgan plan scrapped, season 5 allowed Carol (Melissa McBride) to become the group’s savior, with an elaborate and explosive plan to rescue Rick’s group out of Terminus. The rest of that season found Morgan playing catch-up, before finally having an encounter with the Wolves and later saving Daryl and Aaron during the season 5 finale. Morgan would then finally enter the group, after witnessing Rick execute ‘Porch Dick’ Pete in front of the the people in Alexandria.
This whole reveal is an interesting tidbit that actually played out better in the grand scheme of things. Delaying the return of Morgan allowed the show to build up the mystique of a key character on the show. Given how The Walking Dead tends to be more intriguing when it mixes up ideas beyond Rick and the gang in the woods or Rick getting angry, adding Morgan into the cast the way they did led to some great moments throughout season 5 and one of the series’ best episodes (the aforementioned “Here’s Not Here”) in season 6.
Of course, the various news about initial plans for other cast members tends to sway back and forth between intriguing and kind of silly. Thankfully the show found a proper way to bring a solid actor into the main cast. Now let’s just wait and see how long he lasts in the series.
The Walking Dead will return for its seventh season on October 23.