Lennie James may be defecting from The Walking Dead to its spinoff venture Fear The Walking Dead, but according to Andrew Lincoln, Rick and Morgan's tale isn't over yet. After waking up in hospital to find the world ravaged by the undead, Rick Grimes' first ally was Morgan Jones and his young son, Duane. Although the duo would eventually part ways, with Rick opting to forge ahead and Morgan staying behind, the duo continued to bump into each other down the line. When Morgan's son tragically died, the character sought out his old friend Rick and the duo have been working together in Alexandria ever since.
Alas, The Walking Dead season 8 has taken Morgan in a very different direction, namely onto spinoff series Fear The Waking Dead. It was announced last year that a mystery character would be crossing over between the two shows and after plenty of feverish speculation, Morgan was revealed as the lucky winner. As far as his recent arc in The Walking Dead goes, Morgan became disillusioned with the tactics being employed at the Hilltop and the attitude of Jesus in particular. After a brief scuffle, Morgan opted to walk away from the group and was last seen lurking outside the Kingdom.
Many viewers might assume that Morgan's upcoming appearance in Fear The Walking Dead would spell the end of his tenure on the main series, however actor Andrew Lincoln firmly believes that the story between Morgan and Rick still has plenty to offer. Speaking with EW, Lincoln states:
“It was a very, very sad back eight. There were lots of goodbyes and big goodbyes as well. But there was a sort of sense, certainly with Lennie, that it’s until we meet again. It’s always been that way with Rick and Morgan. I don’t know, there’s something in the air that I feel that it’s not quite the end yet for Rick and Morgan.”
A great deal of mystery remains surrounding the appearance of Morgan in Fear The Walking Dead. The timelines of both shows don't quite match up neatly enough for Morgan to have headed West to meet the cast of Fear and then journey back for his reunion with Rick. It was, however, recently confirmed that the upcoming fourth season of the spinoff would feature a significant time jump and this may suggest that the Morgan fans see in Fear will actually be the present-timeline incarnation of the character.
If this were to be the case, Morgan's stint in Fear The Walking Dead could be linked to a prevalent fan theory that suggests Fear's Madison will become the villain Alpha, Negan's successor as The Walking Dead's arch antagonist. As such, the true purpose of this crossover event may not be to simply provide a deeper exploration into Morgan's character but to help introduce the franchise's next big villain, with Fear acting as a prequel that provides the backstory of how Madison transformed into Alpha.
The Walking Dead returns February 25th with 'Honor' on AMC.