A character from the earliest season of The Walking Dead made a shocking return to the AMC series on Sunday night just as Rick and Daryl thought they had come out on top of their raid on a Savior outpost.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 8x02 follow!
After finding a photo of Morales and his wife Miranda, Rick Grimes turned to his side to discover his old friend Morales pointing a gun at him. They are friends no more, however. Morales has aligned himself with the Saviors and has already radioed for the Saviors to come and back him up. It's a shocking return seven years in the making and one Morales actor Juan Pareja was a surprised to learn of as the fans.
"To be honest, I got a call in about the middle of spring," Pareja told ComicBook.com during an interview on After the Dead. "It wasn't a definitive call. It was just like, should they come knocking would you be interested? And I said, 'absolutely,' being a fan of the show myself. Maybe showed perhaps a little too much eagerness from the get go. But yeah, I was super excited."
From there, Pareja was left waiting for what must have felt like an eternity. "They gave me about a couple of months in saying this is a possibility, it's not a sure thing yet," Pareja said. "I was like, 'Understood, no worries, keep me posted. I'll definitely keep an eye out for any news from you guys.' And then in the mean time, as soon as I got that little bit of a lead way and heads up of the possibility, I hit the gym and started my transformation so that Morales would be a formidable character on the screen whenever he did, if he did, actually make the come back."
Hit the gym, Pareja most certainly did. Check out the photo of Pareja after a workout in the tweet below, captioned, "Maybe one day we'll find out what happened to #Morales."
As long as Pareja had been left hoping for a return to the AMC series, he never imagined it would be as an enemy to Rick Grimes. "That was the last thing I was anticipating and expecting," Pareja said. "And I was kind of kept in the dark until I showed up in Atlanta ready to shoot. I had no idea what was coming and basically what the writers had come up with. It was a big surprise for me. I had definitely been Team Rick all along. It was some processing to work my way through."
"It was absolutely a joy to see Andy [Lincoln] again," Pareja said. "And it was like old times. It was really nice to reconnect with him. It happened in the trailer before we got to shooting as we were getting ready with the makeup. And it was really nice, it was really nice. It was like no time had passed at all."
As for how Morales' course took him from a trip to Birmingham, Alabama to the Alexandria area, Pareja promises we'll see "a bit more" of what happened to his character. The actor is not careful to reveal too much information, but says there is a "real possibility" the story unfolds in the Fear the Walking Dead crossover.