Tales of the Walking Dead creator Scott Gimple reveals actor John Carroll Lynch, who played Eastman in a one-off episode of The Walking Dead, has participated in talks about reprising his role in the anthology spinoff in development at AMC. Lynch's Dr. E. Eastman appears only once, acting as a mentor to a PTSD-stricken Morgan Jones (Lennie James) in Season 6 episode "Here's Not Here." In the contained flashback episode scripted by Gimple, Eastman trains Morgan in the martial art Aikido and passes along teachings from a pocket-sized edition of "The Art of Peace," all while revealing his tragic history from before the start of the zombie apocalypse.
"I want to talk to Mr. Lynch first, but yes. He'd be game," Gimple said about an Eastman-focused episode of Tales during a virtual Walking Dead Showrunners Summit panel at New York Comic Con. "We've talked a little bit about it."
In "Here's Not Here," which inspires Morgan's trajectory into spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, Morgan adopts a pacifistic philosophy and receives the staff he wields for self-defense. Eastman, a former forensic psychiatrist, reforms a Morgan driven mad by the death of son Duane (Adrian Kali Turner).
When Morgan inquires about the jail cell inside Eastman's remote cabin, he learns a psychopath named Crighton Dallas Wilton murdered Eastman's wife and two children. Eastman abducted Wilton and starved him to death, but regretted the decision and committed to a life free of violence.
Before Eastman dies from the bite of a stray zombie, the reanimated corpse of a man strangled to death by a crazed Morgan, he imparts a lesson that comes to define Morgan: "All life is precious."
AMC describes Tales as an "episodic anthology with individual episodes or arcs of episodes focused on new or existing characters, backstories or other stand-alone experiences." Gimple has characterized the spinoff as a grab-bag telling different zombie stories week-to-week, each spanning the Walking Dead timeline and taking place all over the expansive Walking Dead Universe.
Some stories will take place towards the start of the zombie apocalypse and will bring back characters who have died over the ten-year history of The Walking Dead. Other characters hinted to return in Tales are Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and Beta (Ryan Hurst) of the Whisperers, who is expected to be the focus of a prequel episode.
Tales of the Walking Dead is now in development at AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.