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Morgan Jones, played by Lennie James and first appearing in the very first episode of The Walking Dead ever, is set to turn his back on Alexandria for sandier pastures: the Texas setting of spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, entering its fourth season April 15 immediately after the flagship series wraps up its eighth. Given the character’s timeline, the only way Morgan’s involvement in Fear makes any sense is if the show is about to experience a massive leap forward in time, so much so that it will actually move past the current events of the Walking Dead proper.
Although we know with certainty Morgan will survive the looming final battle in “All-Out War,” we have no idea which version of Morgan will come out on the other side. Throughout season eight, Morgan has been in full-blown kill mode, a far cry from the pacifistic teachings he learned from Eastman (John Carroll Lynch) way back when. Earlier in the season, Morgan watched as young Henry (Maczen Lintz) killed a man in cold blood, his actions modeled directly after Morgan’s own. It seemed like it would be traumatic enough to put Morgan back on the righteous path. Not so much, as it’s turned out. In fact, Morgan killed even more Saviors as recently as “Still Gotta Mean Something,” the 14th episode of the season, and he’s showing few signs of slowing down. In the preview for the season finale, “Wrath,” Morgan makes his intentions known: “We are worse than we were, and we can’t go back, so let’s just finish this.”
Will Morgan’s killing streak extend all the way to Fear the Walking Dead, or will he find his way back to the aikido code? It’s not hard to imagine Morgan the murder machine stirring up trouble for the Clark family, but one shudders at the thought — not just because of the grisly violence that would ensue, but because it’s become increasingly exhausting to watch Morgan in this state of mind. With any luck, the Morgan who arrives in the Clarks’ orbit will be closer to the man we met in the first episode of the entire franchise, if not quite Eastman’s disciple.
No matter what version of Morgan we see next, his arrival in the Fear the Walking Dead universe stands to have a huge impact on the status quo, for all of the obvious reasons involved in the two shows crossing over for the very first time. In terms of specific characters, here are a few of the Morgan meetings that should be exciting to keep an eye on:
Morgan Meets Madison (Kim Dickens): The new main character meets the original main character. Former showrunner Dave Erickson used to view Madison as a Governor in the making, someone who would start out on heroic terms before taking a turn for the villainous. Sound like someone we know? Much as we have come to know and love the man, Morgan has outright murdered several people in his day, both guilty and innocents. If the new creative team continues Madison’s plunge toward darkness, her first encounters with Morgan could be quite deadly indeed.
Morgan Meets Nick (Frank Dillane): While they don’t seem to share much in common on the surface, there’s one thing that ties both Morgan and Nick together: they believe they cannot die. Both men have stated God complexes, viewing themselves as invincible in the greater world of the apocalypse. Nick has said it before: “I can’t die.” Morgan has made it clear that his purpose is to watch other people die, while he lives and endures it all. Putting these two people in the same room could lead to a powerful conversation about what it means to be so thoroughly alive in the world of the dead.
Morgan Meets Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey): Much time will have passed from when we last saw Alicia in Fear the Walking Dead and the moment we’ll see her first encounter with Morgan. Back then, she was on the road toward becoming a soldier of fortune in her own right, having seen and been through unimaginable amounts of bloodshed — much of it shed at her own hands. If she needs a grief counselor, there are few people better than Morgan, who knows a thing or two about living through the traumas of the Walking Dead universe.
Morgan Meets Strand (Colman Domingo): On the face of it, it’s hard to imagine Morgan and Strand becoming fast friends. Morgan is a straight-shooter. Strand is not, at least not when we first met him. Over the course of the seasons, Strand has made strides away from his confidence man schemes of yesteryear, though he’s not fully out of those woods; see the con he tried to pull off at the Gonzalez Dam for further proof. Then again, if anyone knows anything about living multiple lives all in the span of one human existence, it’s Morgan. Maybe he and Strand have more in common than one would originally think.
Morgan Meets Salazar (Ruben Blades): Frankly, this is a meeting that may never come to pass, as Ruben Blades will appear in Fear the Walking Dead season four, but not as a series regular. In that light, it’s very likely that Salazar will have only a brief role to play in the episodes ahead, and could wind up as one of the victims of the Gonzalez Dam’s explosion. Hopefully not! Salazar is an excellent presence within the Fear universe, and he’s someone who would have so much in common with Morgan, both of them trying to move away from the horrors of wars that will haunt them forever, no matter how hard they run.
The Austinites Meet the Alexandrians: Will Morgan bring the rest of the Walking Dead world when he shows up in Fear the Walking Dead? Certainly not initially, but by the end of the season? All bets are off. Should the major creative reboot land with a thud, and Fear the Walking Dead ends up needing to take a hike as an enterprise, there’s every reason in the world to believe Morgan could lead some of the show’s most successful characters all the way back to Alexandria. But that’s a disaster scenario not worth considering until further notice. For now, it’s all eyes ahead on Morgan’s next chapter, and the ways in which he’ll interact with the Fear crowd. Here’s hoping he fares better than Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis), at the very least.
What are your predictions for Morgan’s Fear the Walking Dead arrival? Sound off in the comments below, and make sure to follow our coverage of the show all season long.
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