Why did Lennie James leave Fear the Walking Dead?

Lennie James opens up about his departure from Fear the Walking Dead

Lennie James as Morgan Jones in Fear the Walking Dead

Lennie James’ Fear the Walking Dead stint has come to an end.

In a couple of interviews after the mid-season finale of the show’s season 8, the British actor confirmed that he had left the Walking Dead companion series after four seasons.

When did Lennie James exit Fear the Walking Dead?

Lennie James’ final appearance as Morgan Jones in Fear the Walking Dead took place in season 8, episode 6, entitled All I See Is Red. When asked by ComicBook.com if fans will see Morgan in the second half of the show’s eighth and final season, the actor replied: “You will not.”

“I think it’s just the way the story panned out for the final season,” James said of his mid-season departure. “I think it was to do with timings, when was best for the story [showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg] wanted to tell in the final season and in a way, to dedicate a chunk of the first six episodes to Morgan’s story and then continue as they mean to go on.”

Kim Dickens as Madison Clark and Lennie James as Morgan Jones in Fear the Walking Dead
Kim Dickens as Madison Clark and Lennie James as Morgan Jones in Fear the Walking Dead

At the end of James’ final episode in the show, his character, Morgan, bid his farewell to Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), who is now the leader of PADRE. He then set off for Virginia with Mo (Zoey Merchant) to look for Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).

“This message is for Rick Grimes. It’s Morgan Jones. Man, I’m gonna come and look for you, whether you’re at Alexandria or not. I will leave this message every morning at dawn, and I’ll leave the walkie on for a few minutes after,” Morgan said, coming full circle to how he parted ways with Rick on the first-ever episode of The Walking Dead. “Who knows? Maybe you might even be listening.”

Morgan Sees Red | FearTWD Midseason Finale Sneak Peek

Dickens is expected to receive top billing for the first time since season 4 when Fear the Walking Dead returns for its final six episodes later this year. In addition to Dickens’ Madison, the show’s final batch of episodes will likely focus on other surviving characters from earlier seasons like Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), Daniel Salazar (Rubèn Blades), Luciana (Danay García), and Troy Otto (Daniel Sharman), who made a surprising return in the show’s last episode.

What was the reason behind Lennie James’ departure from Fear the Walking Dead?

Lennie James left Fear the Walking Dead for a few reasons. First, he wanted to explore other opportunities. He had been on The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead for a combined 13 years, and he was ready for a change. Second, he felt like his character, Morgan Jones, had reached a natural conclusion. Morgan had gone through a lot of growth and development over the years, and James felt like he had told the story he wanted to tell with the character. Finally, James wanted to spend more time with his family. He lives in the United Kingdom, while Fear the Walking Dead is filmed in the United States. Apparently, the long hours and travel schedule were starting to take a toll on his personal life.

When asked why he decided to leave the show, James told Decided: “For me, it was a combination of things. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I wanted to try something new. I also felt like Morgan’s story had come to an end. He’s been through a lot, and I felt like I had told the story I wanted to tell with him. And finally, I wanted to spend more time with my family. I live in the U.K., and Fear is filmed in the U.S. The travel was starting to get to me.”

On fan reaction to his departure, James said: “I’ve seen some of the fan reaction, and I’m grateful for all the support. I know that some people are disappointed that I’m leaving, but I hope that they’ll understand my decision. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Fear the Walking Dead, and I’ll be watching from the sidelines.”

Is Morgan really gone for good?

Lennie James as Morgan Jones and Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead
Lennie James as Morgan Jones and Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead

Just as Lennie exits Fear the Walking Dead, Andrew Lincoln is returning opposite Danai Gurira in The Walking Dead: Rick & Michonne spin-off series slated for 2024. So, a lot of fans speculate that James left Fear the Walking Dead to reunite with Lincoln in the new show.

While James didn’t confirm that speculation, he didn’t entirely dismiss the idea either. “In all honesty, every and anything is possible. And I know it’s something that a certain percentage of our fans would like. I would show up to work with Andy again any time,” James told ComicBook.com about returning to the Walking Dead Universe for a Morgan and Rick reunion. “But as anybody who knows me knows, I’m fiercely protective of Morgan’s story. And as far as I’m concerned, at this particular moment in time, this is the end of the road for Morgan. You’ll only see him again if a story comes up within the universe that is just too good to say no to.”

Fear the Walking Dead season 8B release date

The second half of the eighth and final season of Fear the Walking Dead doesn’t have an exact release date yet. But as mentioned above, it is set to premiere later this year.

Sources: ComicBook.com, Decider
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