The Walking Dead will bring viewers some major changes for Season 9, including a new city (Washington, D.C.) as a backdrop, and the exit of Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes. In addition, Morgan Jones actor Lennie James is heading to the show’s spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead. Thanks to a time jump, both AMC shows have connected for the first time. When it was first announced that James would be heading to Fear the Walking Dead, rumors circulated that the actor was given a choice to stay on The Walking Dead and be killed or to move to the other show. As Forbes reported, that rumor had no truth to it, and it was James’ decision to make the move.
While it was Lennie’s decision to move to Fear the Walking Dead, it wasn’t an easy one. Recently, at Comic-Con Honolulu, The Walking Dead actor spoke on Morgan’s move. Lennie James recalled how Walking Dead Chief Content Officer Scott Gimple asked him if he would like to continue Morgan’s story over at Fear, and as Comicbook reported, the actor was stunned.
“All I heard was ringing in my ears. And he carried on talking, and I wasn’t really listening, because the only thing I could think was, ‘If I say yes to this, it means I’m leaving the show.’ And that was the first thought.”
James added that Gimple asked him if he had any questions, and Lennie said that he didn’t because he didn’t know what he thought or felt. The Morgan actor said that he needed to speak with his wife, Giselle, and asked Gimple if he could speak with Andrew Lincoln over the matter, and Scott enthusiastically obliged. After speaking with his wife, James met with Lincoln and the two caught a movie together. Afterward, they spoke about Lennie’s possible exit, as Comicbook documented.
“I started to formulate questions and figure out whether or not it was a good thing—not just for me—but most importantly, whether it was a good thing for my character. And in the end, I decided that it was, and I was being offered a very unique experience as an actor.”
Comicbook asked the James if he foresaw Morgan Jones outlasting Rick Grimes. He said, “Of course not,” and remarked how his character is dead in the comic book. The actor stated that Morgan has outlived Rick, he’s outlived himself, and that it’s surreal. Lennie said that he has some notion of what happens and how it happens and that it’s going to be an exciting thing for people to follow and see.
The mid-season premiere of Fear airs on AMC on Sunday, August 12, at 9 p.m. EST. The Walking Dead Season 9 debuts on AMC on Sunday, October 7.