Fear the Walking Dead leading man Lennie James nearly let slip a spoiler when explaining the disheveled new look for Morgan Jones in the sixth season. A previously released photo from the sixth season premiere, "The End Is the Beginning," showed Morgan with bloodshot eyes and an unkempt beard — the result of a weeks-long battle to survive being attacked and nearly killed by Virginia (Colby Minifie). The Pioneer leader shot Morgan point-blank during a confrontation at Humbug's Gulch in last year's fifth season finale, "End of the Line," which ended with Morgan on death's door and staring down a pack of flesh-hungry walkers.
"He's still going through the effects of being shot by Virginia, and certainly in episode one, you are watching a man possibly… deal with the effects of that," James said with a long pause when explaining Morgan's new look during the Walking Dead Universe Preview Special. "Sorry, I nearly said something I couldn't say."
Weeks after their near-fatal encounter, Virginia wants Morgan dead or alive — or undead. In the season premiere, she dispatches mysterious bounty hunter Emile (Demetrius Grosse) to bring her Morgan's head, setting the two men on a collision course.
"To have created a character this far down the line who feels original, and feels dangerous, and feels threatening... [Grosse] just plays the hell out of it," James said. "It's really fantastic, and he's a good kind of compadre of Virginia's. It's really exciting, we had a lot of fun doing it."
Pitting a weakened Morgan against a relentless hunter makes for a "really good episode, and it really kicks us off," James said. "It's a measure of the way we're going to be storytelling this season, and I think it's a fantastic start. He's such a good character."
Asked to explain why settlement leader Virginia has it out for Morgan, Minifie answered, "I think Virginia sees Morgan as the biggest threat to her community's safety, in a lot of ways. For many reasons I don't know I can get completely into."0comments
Last season ended with Morgan's group of do-gooders — including Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), and Dwight (Austin Amelio) — forcibly separated and dispersed across the far-reaching settlements controlled by Virginia. The group will remain mostly separated across anthology-style episodes, but the season will reveal unique and often surprising character pairings as the heroes adjust to life under Virginia's rule.
Fear the Walking Dead returns with its sixth season premiere Sunday, October 11, at 9 pm ET/8c on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.