The Walking Dead's Lennie James Reacts to Show’s Final Season: “Everything Comes to an End”

The Walking Dead star Lennie James, who has played Morgan Jones since the premiere episode of the zombie drama in 2010, says an ending was "inevitable" now that the series will conclude after 177 episodes and 11 seasons in 2022. In the first-ever episode of The Walking Dead, "Days Gone Bye," father and son survivors Morgan and Duane (Adrian Kali Turner) encounter Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) towards the start of the zombie apocalypse. A decade later, the franchise has spun Morgan off into Fear the Walking Dead with more spinoffs on the way — including a Rick-focused movie trilogy — ensuring the legacy of The Walking Dead will live on long after the mothership show has ended.

"I think it's well-documented how I feel about the show and the impact that the show has had on my life and my career. Certainly, you could mark my career by post and pre-Walking Dead," James said on the virtual Walking Dead Universe Preview Special. "I happened to be in Atlanta when the news came out, I happened to be with a good number of the crew from Walking Dead and a few cast members."

James, along with Walking Dead star Cooper Andrews (Jerry) as well as former series stars Joshua Mikel (Savior Jared) and Pollyanna McIntosh (Jadis/Anne), was off shooting short film Happy Trails in Georgia — the longtime filming home of The Walking Dead.

"Like everybody, I was surprised. But like everybody, we all knew at some point everything comes to an end," James said of his reaction to AMC announcing the eleventh and final season of The Walking Dead.

The show's legacy is "the thing that's going to be most important, the actors that it has introduced people to, and has introduced to the world," James added. "And what it has done for television, how it became such an unlikely and phenomenal success, and how it expanded the scope of what's possible in television. And the risks taken and the way that it looks — it's probably going to be the last show ever on television shot on film."

"I think it's sad that it's going, it's inevitable at some point it had to go," James said. "But I think what it's achieved and what it's done, it will be hard for any show to match, really."

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Following the premiere airing of The Walking Dead Season 10 finale on October 4, just 30 episodes of the main show remain. Six of these new episodes, tailor-made for safe filming amid the COVID-19 pandemic, will air on AMC in early 2021. A 24-episode final season of The Walking Dead begins later that year, and the series finale will air sometime in late 2022.

James next appears in the Morgan-centric sixth season premiere of Fear the Walking Dead on Sunday, October 11, on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.