‘The Walking Dead’: Why We’re Bummed About the Morgan Crossover News

Kim Taylor-Foster
The Walking Dead TV
The Walking Dead TV
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Well. None of us saw that coming. The news that The Walking Dead star Lennie James, who plays Morgan in the show, will appear in sister show Fear the Walking Dead next season has us all scratching our heads. Just how are they going to pull this off? And what does it mean for both shows? Is it a massive mistake? It’s certainly a bold move — Morgan is one of the main show’s most popular characters.

The announcement was made on Talking Dead, the series’ aftershow, and it gave Lennie James a chance to address the crossover. He seemed to suggest he was leaving The Walking Dead for good, having said his goodbyes to cast and crew.

There’s plenty of dissent about the move on the internet, and here’s why we’re not down with it.

Morgan Will Be Missed

Morgan has always felt like one of The Walking Dead’s most interesting characters. His arc has seen him transformed from god-fearing family man to one-man killing machine. Via badass pacifist, of course. He’s always been tortured by the death of his family, and as recently as Season 7, we saw it directly affecting his state of mind — not least when he called Benjamin by his son’s name, Duane.

He’s one of the more mentally unstable characters, which makes him both unpredictable and extremely sympathetic. In short, Morgan enriches The Walking Dead and adds depth. If he’s really gone for good from the main show, the series will suffer for his departure. Since Season 5, he’s become a mainstay despite his earlier propensity for going it alone and he’ll be greatly missed.

We Hoped To See Abraham Again

If the crossover was always going to go this way, from TWD to Fear rather than vice versa, Abraham would have made more sense. Abraham was brutally killed by Negan in the main show at the start of Season 7, and was from Texas, which is where it looks like Fear could be heading for Season 4. Fans had speculated that Abraham would be the crossover character in question and were looking forward to seeing Abraham’s backstory. They relished the idea of the fan-favourite being essentially brought back from the dead. Now, it seems, we won’t get that and — frankly — we feel a bit let down.

It Should Have Been Madison

Another character feeling the heat of speculation was Kim Dickens’s Madison. In Fear, we’ve seen her evolve from ordinary mother and loving wife to fierce warrior who is willing to do whatever it takes to survive. She is increasingly willing to cross the line, and we’ve seen her alienate those closest to her.

Fear-the-Walking-Dead-Madison
Fear the Walking Dead's Madison.

Many fans thought she’d be tied into a plot introducing a group known as The Whisperers, who feature in the comics, to the Walking Dead screen universe. This was thought to be the main part of the story to link the two shows together, and Madison could have been the leader of this group that wears the skins of walkers to walk among the dead (and the living) undetected. According to speculation, this would have seen Madison make the transition from Fear to the main show. Now it looks like this isn’t the way the story will unfold.

The announcement of Morgan as the crossover character doesn’t rule out the emergence of The Whisperers, though. Indeed, back when Morgan made a brief appearance in Season 3 of TWD, he made reference to “people wearing dead people’s faces.”  Showrunner Scott Gimple has said in the past that this reference was entirely coincidental as The Whisperers didn’t exist in the comics back when this episode aired. But that doesn’t mean they won’t use it. This would suggest that Morgan ran into the group some time between Season 1 and Season 3, which coincides with the timeline of Fear.

Timeline Confusion

All will no doubt become clear once Season 4 of Fear kicks off, but for now, we’re not sure what it means for the timeline. And not only is it twisting our melons, but also we don’t know if we like either outcome.

If we see Morgan head back in time to bridge the period between Season 1 and 3 when he was missing from the main show, how on earth does he end up in either Mexico or Texas? As far as we know, Morgan was in Georgia during the time he was absent from the series.

Apart from making little sense logistically, it also feels so unnecessary. We’ve already seen Morgan in flashback. A whole episode back in Season 6 was dedicated to showing how he became the skilled martial artist and pacifist we meet later in the series.

Morgan’s backstory has been explored. We met his son, we know what he went through when his wife turned, we know he had a strong faith. We also know about his internal struggles. How much more is there left to explore? It feels pointless to go back and take yet another look at the history of this character, and it’s frustrating.

walking-dead-Morgan_duane
Morgan with son Duane -- do we really need to delve into Morgan's backstory again?

The alternative to taking Morgan back in time is a time-jump in Fear to bring it in line with the main show. This would see Morgan leave Rick and co. and head to Texas, leaving him to meet up with Fear characters years on from the point at which we left them during the finale of Season 3. This would give the new showrunners on Fear a completely clean slate to make the show their own, and leave the door open for yet more crossovers between shows. However, this would come just at the moment that Fear was really coming into its own. It’s drawn high praise from both critics and fans for its most recent season.

It Could Mean Morgan Dies in Season 8

Although Morgan’s death isn’t confirmed, and Scott Gimple says there’s still a lot more for Morgan’s story arc to come in TWD, fans are now speculating that it spells the end for Morgan. The character has already died in the comics, for one thing. If he is to die, it will take the impact out of his passing as we’ll all be half expecting it. And if he doesn’t, it means he’ll be heading off again alone — as he is wont to do — leaving the way clear for him to return to the main show at a later date.

If Morgan does die in Season 8, it seems like it will largely be because the writers don’t know where else to take his character. If that’s the case, resurrecting him for Fear might not be the best idea. Exploring a character whose story is finished and who we know to be dead surely lessens the impact he could have on the companion show.

We’ll hopefully find out more as The Walking Dead heads towards its mid-season finale and when Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 hits screens next year.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.
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