‘Fear TWD’ EPs on That Morgan Cliffhanger & a ‘Fundamentally’ Different Season 6
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead Season 5 finale, “End of the Line.”]
If you’re worried about Morgan Jones, this Q&A won’t calm your nerves.
Fear the Walking Dead EP’s Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg definitely think fans should be concerned about the fate of their favorite post-apocalyptic, stick-swinging philosopher with a penchant for helping, and while they won’t reveal whether he’s a goner, it seems possible that this might—might—not be the end of Morgan’s story. (Hey, he’s not dead yet!)
We chatted with the duo about the parallels between the last scene of the season and Rick Grimes’ rebar injury on The Walking Dead, that shocking reveal of Grace’s pregnancy and what they meant when they said Season 6 would “reinvent the show” at Comic-Con this year.
How worried should fans be about Morgan right now? Will we be seeing him next season?
Goldberg: Well, they should be worried. As the season ended he had a gunshot wound, he was bleeding very badly, he had walkers surrounding him and all of his friends and family had been scattered to the four corners. It’s a difficult moment for Morgan, to say the least. Without giving anything away, Morgan’s final words to the group are “just live,” and whether Morgan is going to be able to live by those words himself, we’re just going to have to wait for Season 6 to see.
Morgan’s last moments mirrored Rick Grimes’ injury before he was taken by CRM, since both were bleeding out, alone and being surrounded by walkers. Was that an intentional nod to Rick, or more of a coincidence?
Chambliss: Both of them were written to be leaders, and were finding themselves in broken moments. So those parallels were intentional, and then, as tends to happen in the zombie apocalypse, when guns get fired and you get shot, you tend to draw walkers.
Right, there are walkers.
Chambliss: Yes, yes. I think we can definitively say that there won’t be a helicopter showing up to ferry Morgan to safety. Fear will take a very different track than The Walking Dead in that regard.
Talk to me a little about the decision to make Grace pregnant, instead of sick. Was that aspect of her character planned from the start?
Goldberg: It was. One of the big schematics we’ve been exploring, especially in the back half of the season, is two different visions of the future. Ginny believes she’s building a future and she’s not afraid to be ruthless in doing so, and we’ve seen just how ruthless she can be. Our group is much more humanistic; They believe that everyone has value. It was important to us that they were fighting for (Grace, in episode 15).
And then the ultimate reveal when we find out she’s pregnant in the finale, that was something that we had always planned because Ginny’s whole argument is that their group’s methods have no future. Grace being pregnant is a direct refutation of that. It’s a symbol of hope, and of the future, that she’s carrying inside of her. As much of a loss as much of the finale is for our group, the fact that Grace survives, as does the baby going into Season 6—that’s a win.
Some fans were disappointed that Alicia didn’t have as much to do in the second half of the season as she did in the first. Will we be seeing her “back in action,” so to speak, in Season 6?
Goldberg: Oh, absolutely. Alicia is such a fantastic, complex character who continues to evolve. We were very excited by the evolution that her character went through from the beginning of this season to where she was in the back half. She started out as someone we’ve always known was a very capable warrior, and at the end of the season she was a protector and defender of the group who was also seeking a deeper meaning. She was seeking deeper connections, and that was part of her journey this season.
I think one of the really interesting things that we’re able to explore through the character is that strength doesn’t always come from violence: It comes from finding deeper meaning and purpose, and Alicia being able to reconcile those two things, we believe, has made her an even stronger, more evolved and more capable character than ever. Going into Season 6, we’re going to see how that new growth for her gets tested when she’s separated from the people she cares about.
At Comic-Con, you said this season ended in a way that felt inevitable, and that it would reinvent the show. Now that we know the ending, can you explain what you meant by that?
Chambliss: During Season 5, we set out to tell a story of our characters seeking out a better way to live: A way of living that was about more than just survival, that was about making up for past wrongdoings, that was about building a life and relationships in this very dark world. We always knew we were going to be building to some backlash for that, and we wanted to put our characters in a place where all of the growth that they made over the course of this season will be put to the test. It was important for us to end this season on that—this season, which has found our characters finding a lot of wins, and making a lot of positive emotional growth—to end it in a much darker place than we’ve been.
It also comes along with our characters being separated and sent off to various settlements across the Texas landscape, so it’s going to change the show and the narrative fundamentally and in several big ways. One is, obviously on a thematic level, we’re now going to be exploring these characters struggling to hold on to all the progress that they’ve made. Some may be able to do it. Some may not be able to do it. Some may stay true to the philosophies of this season, and others may find Ginny’s way of living more to their liking.
The other thing we’re excited about is that we have all these settlements. We’re going to see lots of ways of living in the apocalypse, lots of different flavors of living. This also allows us to really do some focused episodes on different groupings and characters, and dig a little bit deeper than we’ve been able to do when our characters are together in a large ensemble.
Fear the Walking Dead, Season 6, 2020, AMC