“I didn’t petition for it at all, in fact I probably was the last person on the planet who knew anything about the crossover. I was like, ‘Crossover? What crossover? What? When are we doing this, what? We’re doing a crossover? Nice, excellent, who’s it gonna be?’” James recalled during a Q&A at Comic Con Honolulu this weekend.
Scott Gimple, then-showrunner on The Walking Dead, approached James with the crossover idea as he was going to transition to a new role as Chief Content Officer for the Walking Dead brand — “He was going to turn into the kind of Oz on both shows,” as James put it — which included an executive producer role on spinoff Fear The Walking Dead.
“At the beginning of every season, all of the main actors have a sit-down with Scott Gimple. And you sit down and he tells you what he’s got in mind for your character over that season, and whether or not you’re going to live or die. And it’s at that meeting that you mostly find out whether you’re going to make it or not make it,” James said.
“And so what it mostly means is, while he’s talking — and Scott talks for 40 minutes, you’re not listening to a word of it because all you’re waiting to find out is do you live or do you die — and then when you get to the end of it, he goes, ‘Well, basically, that’s your story,’ you go, ‘Great, excellent, could you just say all of that again, because I wasn’t listening, now that I know whether I live or die.’ And so that’s what I thought my meeting was. In fact, I went up to Scott’s place, had that meeting, he told me what the journey was for my character over that season, and then I drove home.”
After taking time to mull the offer over — and a meeting with The Walking Dead leading man Andrew Lincoln to discuss leaving that show — James accepted Gimple’s proposition, and was announced as the character at the center of the crossover last November. In April, Morgan made his cross-country trek and joined Fear.
James said previously Gimple told him Morgan was the one and only choice for the character going from one show to the other. During his time at the convention, the actor explained jumping to the less-crowded Fear meant “exploring [Morgan] a little bit more before he finishes.”
Fear The Walking Dead airs new episodes Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.