“Don’t cross the streams.”
The forces responsible for AMC’s The Walking Dead universe have long subscribed to Egon Spengler’s sage wisdom, keeping the flagship zombie drama and spinoff Fear the Walking Dead separated by both distance and time. Given the news about Walking Dead veteran Lennie James’ upcoming series regular role on Fear the Walking Dead, it now looks like the golden Ghostbusters rule has been vaporized — and in the process, the two shows look set to overlap in time, if not space.
Heading into the Talking Dead announcement about the Fear and Walking Dead crossover specifics, most fans were set on the theory that Abraham Ford, the late and great bruiser played with relish by Michael Cudlitz, would serve as the bridge between the two sides of the AMC zombie apocalypse. After all, before joining up with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the rest of the gang, Abraham originally hailed from Texas — the same place where Fear the Walking Dead is heading in season four, with production now underway in Austin. Through three seasons, Fear the Walking Dead has told a story set years and years before the current events of The Walking Dead, roughly around the same time as season two of the flagship series. With that in mind, it made sense for Abraham to appear on Fear, as his character didn’t link up with Lincoln’s Rick until the tail end of season four.
Sadly, those Abraham dreams have been smashed to smithereens, not unlike how the barbed-wired baseball bat known as Lucille obliterated the late Sergeant Ford’s skull in the seventh season premiere of The Walking Dead. Instead, another iconic face from the original series will make the leap over to Fear: Morgan, the first major character viewers ever met in the Walking Dead universe following Rick Grimes, at least in terms of the individuals who are still alive.
But how does Morgan appearing in the current Fear the Walking Dead timeline make sense, given what we know about the character’s history? Here’s where it gets interesting: it doesn’t make sense — unless Fear the Walking Dead is about to experience a massive leap forward in time. (The live stream of James’ first day on set was nothing more than the actor walking to the makeup trailer.)
We don’t know everything about Morgan Jones, but we do know his apocalyptic history in vivid detail:
• We first met Morgan in the Walking Dead pilot, seeking refuge in Rick’s hometown when the lawman first awakens from his coma and into the world of the dead. Morgan’s wife, Jenny, had already turned at this point. Morgan’s son, Duane, was still alive.
• After Rick left Morgan in the pilot, viewers heard nothing from the Joneses again until season three’s “Clear,” written by current Walking Dead showrunner (and Fear the Walking Dead executive producer) Scott Gimple. Years had passed at this point, and in that time, Duane died thanks to Morgan’s inability to kill his zombified wife. Morgan remained in Rick’s hometown all of this time, and remains there still after Rick, Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) hit the road with enough weapons to fight against Woodbury.