SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched the season 4 premiere of Fear the Walking Dead.
Fear the Walking Dead went through numerous changes before the start of its fourth season. There were several new cast members (Garret Dillahunt, Maggie Grace, Jenna Elfman), new showrunners (Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, taking over for Dave Erickson), a new setting and location (Texas), and a character moving over from The Walking Dead to the sister show (Lennie James’ Morgan).
Questions abounded as to how this would all translate to the screen, and now we have our answers. The season 4 Fear premiere showed us how Morgan went from one show to the other (walking, running, and driving from Virginia to Texas), introduced him to new friends (Dillahunt’s John Dorie and Grace’s Althea) and foes (some jerkface named Leland and his cronies). And in the end, it brought old school and new school together as Morgan, John, and Althea had guns turned on them by Alicia, Frank, Strand, and Luciana from the original cast.
Not only that, but there was a huge surprise in the form of three other Walking Dead characters crossing over to Fear, albeit briefly. Andrew Lincoln’s Rick, Melissa McBride’s Carol, and Tom Payne’s Jesus also showed up at the start of the episode — visiting Morgan at the Heaps in an attempt to get him to return with them to civilization. Instead, it just drove him off. (Nice job, guys!)
We spoke to incoming Fear showrunners Chambliss and Goldberg about those secret scenes as well as everything else that went down in the season premiere. (Also make sure to read our interview with Lennie James as well as franchise overseer Scott M. Gimple’s comments about getting Rick, Carol, and Jesus to make an appearance on Fear the Walking Dead.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Talk to me about the transition here as we have not only Morgan crossing over, but Rick, Carol, and Jesus as well. How excited were you to get them involved as they see Morgan off into this new world?
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: I mean, we were thrilled. We started talking about Morgan transitioning to the show and it just felt like Morgan couldn’t leave The Walking Dead without kind of having some final moments with some of our favorite characters. Ian and I signed on to do Fear the Walking Dead and then when we were lucky enough to get Lennie to join the show as we brought Morgan over. I don’t think we ever dreamed that we would get to be writing for Rick, for Carol, and for Jesus. So it was kind of a very exciting moment when we realized all the pieces were lining up. It was also a big responsibility to have these final moments between these characters and shooting on a really cool set like the Heaps. We were just thrilled to be able to do it.
IAN GOLDBERG: The other exciting thing for us in having those moments with Rick, Jesus, and Carol is that these are three people who Morgan has spent a long, long time being close to. These are people that are very important in his life. The things that they say to him when they visited in the Heaps are very much things that emotional Morgan is going to carry with him throughout the season. So even though he’s walking and actually running away from The Walking Dead, those words and what they mean to Morgan are going to resonate, so he’s carrying a piece of Rick, Carol, and Jesus with him.
So when we meet Morgan here, he’s back to not killing mode. He even tries to help up that one baddie he is fighting on the rooftop. Is that no-kill policy going to be sustainable, though?
GOLDBERG: Well, we’re going to see. I mean, we’ve seen Morgan on The Walking Dead run the gamut between violence and nonviolence and go back and forth before. One of the things that he says in our premiere episode of Fear is what happened to him when he loses people. He loses people and he loses himself and that’s why he’s running away from people. He’s trying to be on his own because one of the ways that nonviolence can work is if you just don’t attach to people. That’s something that Morgan is struggling with is whether or not he can remain close to people who he might well lose.
CHAMBLISS: I will say that Morgan’s journey this season on Fear is going to be all about that question: How can Morgan be with people…