In news that has perhaps been on the cards ever since the zombie spinoff was first announced, it has been officially confirmed that The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead will cross over. Speaking at this past week's New York Comic Con, franchise creator Robert Kirkman announced that the property's two television entities would collide at some point within the next twelve months, with a single character from one show set to appear in the other (he deliberately did not specify which show the character is from).
Interestingly, the official word from cast and crew on the possibility of such an event has historically been that a crossover either couldn't or shouldn't take place. Fear The Walking Dead actor Daniel Sharman previously argued that melding the two shows would be a bad idea as it would make the large-scale fictional world of The Walking Dead feel significantly smaller. Additionally Fear the Walking Dead producer David Erickson claimed last year that the timelines and geography of the two shows made the prospect of a crossover hugely difficult.
Erickson certainly raises a good point but examining the time and place of each series does at least allow some tentative conclusions regarding the nature of the crossover to be drawn.
The Walking Dead largely takes place in the Southeastern U.S. states of Georgia and Virginia, whereas Fear The Walking Dead is set on the opposite coast in the Southern California region, near the Mexican border. With such a distance between the two locations, and the zombie apocalypse not exactly being conducive to quick long-distance travel, characters such as Rick Grimes, Shane Walsh, Daryl Dixon and other favorites whose movements since the outbreak can be accounted for are probably not going to be making the trek West to appear on Fear the Walking Dead any time soon.
Unlike the geography, the timelines of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead are somewhat more vague, with exact dates difficult to pin down. Rick Grimes wakes from his coma approximately two months after the beginning of the zombie outbreak and Fear The Walking Dead recently reached that same milestone. This means that during the currently airing season of Fear the Walking Dead, Rick is on the opposite side of the country with Lori and Carl experiencing the events of The Walking Dead season 1. As such, any character that appears in the first season of TWD and either dies or is still in the show can also be effectively ruled out as the crossover character.
In figuring out exactly how this crossover will take place, it's also vital to ask the question "why now?" In all likelihood, the announcement has something to do with Fear The Walking Dead's dwindling ratings. Although recent episodes of the spinoff have attracted plenty of critical acclaim, viewing figures are not looking healthy and support from the spinoff's far more popular parent series is the obvious solution. With this in mind, it seems highly likely that a figure from The Walking Dead will be making an appearance in Fear The Walking Dead as a way of boosting viewership. Should the opposite occur, the appearance would likely be lost of many fans of The Walking Dead who aren't familiar with the spinoff series.
Taking this into consideration and given the timeline situation, a leading candidate for this crossover would perhaps be season 1 character Morales.
The last viewers saw of Morales and his family, the character said his goodbyes to Rick and was headed for Alabama to seek out other family members. This farewell should be occurring more or less concurrently to the most recent episode of Fear the Walking Dead. Of course, an explanation as to exactly how and why Morales traveled from Alabama to Southern California would need to be provided but assuming he could find a way across the country, it's not unreasonable to think that the man could appear in a future episode of Fear the Walking Dead. However, if Morales is indeed the character Kirkman is referring to in his announcement, many viewers may consider this a disappointment. Morales is a relatively minor figure in The Walking Dead and hasn't been seen for six entire seasons.
Although the prospect of a crossover in the shared universe of The Walking Dead is certainly exciting, the logistics mean that whichever character makes the appearance is unlikely to be a major player. However, with AMC's likely intention just to boost Fear The Walking Dead's ratings, the network simply needs people to tune in.
Fear The Walking Dead season 3 concludes October 15th with a two-part episode on AMC.
The Walking Dead season 8 premieres October 22nd on AMC.