The Walking Dead has had to say goodbye to some of its biggest characters over the last couple of years. The deaths of Glenn, Abraham, Sasha, Carl, and several others are still felt by fans of the show, while the exit of Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes looms on the horizon. However, there was one actor who left the show but managed to stay in the Walking Dead franchise.
Of course, we're talking about Lennie James, whose character, Morgan Jones, left The Walking Dead at the end of Season 8 and crossed over onto Fear the Walking Dead, where he became a series staple. While an exit is always sad, James' move felt a little different, at least to the fans, because he was still going to help anchor the wider TWD universe going forward.
It might have been easy on us as viewers, but it was much harder for the cast, who had to say goodbye to beloved co-star.
While speaking with ComicBook.com about the Blu-ray release of The Walking Dead Season 8 (which arrives on August 21), James opened up about the reaction the reaction of The Walking Dead cast when they learned he was leaving, and the amount of love he was met with when he said goodbye.
"I think Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene, kind of phrased it best really," James said of his departure. "He sent me a text going, 'I'm really, really excited for you, and I'm really, really heartbroken for us,' and he said he's 'sadcited.' That was the kind of phrase, the kind of being sad and excited at the same time, and I think that that was the overriding feeling that people understood what a rare opportunity it was for me, and what it meant as the possibilities for Morgan as a character, which was equally as important. But although it wasn't a death, it was me leaving the show, me leaving the family. In fact, Khary [Payton], I think it was, he said, 'It's like you're going off to college. It's like you're still going to be part of the family, but you're not going to be living with us anymore.'"
"Everybody found a way of expressing something like that about being happy for me, but being sad at the loss, and I think that was people's overriding opinion. There were a couple of people who kind of weren't the main, who were just straight up angry, who were just straight up, 'No. No. You can't go. You have to say,' but that would happen, and that happens whenever we lose characters who have become our kind of every day. So, yeah, that was the overriding feeling."
What did you think of Morgan's transition over to Fear the Walking Dead? Is the new show a better fit for his character than the original series? Let us know what you think by dropping a line in the comments below!
Fear the Walking Dead returns for the back half of its fourth season on Aug. 12 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. The Walking Dead returns for its ninth season on Oct. 7, 2018. For more updates and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter!