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(SPOILERS) Fear the Walking Dead Q&A — Lennie James (Morgan)

Lennie James, who plays Morgan on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, talks about the group’s new mission and introducing another familiar face from The Walking Dead.

Q: Last season ended with the crew dedicating themselves to carrying out Polar Bear’s mission. Why is this so important to Morgan?

A: We’re now at a stage where people know how to survive in this new post-apocalyptic world. We know what is necessary in order to make it through a day and into another day. We know how to avoid walkers and how to escape walkers. We even have some knowledge of how to walk among them. We have a certain set of skills. For Morgan, at least – and I think it does echo through the other members of this group – he needs some kind of justification for these survival skills that he’s acquired. They need to go to use. He even says it to Alicia. They both agree that they need to make up for the wrong they have done and for the lives they’ve taken and the mistakes they’ve made. I think this gives them a sense that their continued existence does more than just keep themselves alive.

Q: They haven’t had much luck helping others yet, though. How do you think this lands on him?

A: In a weird way, it makes me laugh. The whole notion of this mission can make it seem like they’re such good people. The reality is that people in this world won’t trust them and they think they must have some ulterior motive. Although they have this grand mission, they have pretty much failed in every attempt to put it into practice. They have all this stuff and… the means to put the mission into place, but no one wants their help. No one wants to believe they’re there to give this help without any strings attached. I think it’s very indicative of the world we inhabit on Fear.

Q: The first time we see Morgan this season, he’s hanging upside down in a plane crash and fighting a herd of walkers within a few minutes. Was it good to start off with such high intensity?  

A: We actually shot it like the episode itself. We really did hit the ground running. We went straight into the plane crash and a new location and meeting the kids – Cooper [Dodson], Ethan [Suess] and Bailey [Gavulic], who play the siblings that we come across. It was all “go go go” right from the start. There was very little time to catch our breaths, just like in the episode. There were a lot of moving parts, like being strapped to what was the ceiling of the plane and being dropped like a yo-yo a few dozen times and then slashing walkers. It was exciting. [Director] Mike Satrazemis was back at the helm for this first episode and it was like a big charge from beginning to end.

Q: Morgan has had to reel Alicia in a couple of times during her violent moments. What’s that like for him? 

A: One of the things I’ve been enjoying the most is Morgan’s growing relationship with Alicia, but also me as Lennie getting to hang out with Alycia [Debnam-Carey]. It’s been really fantastic this season. I think one of the things we’re finding is that, at the beginning, they’re both operating from guilt that they hold and a number of losses that they carry with them every day. Alicia has lost her mom, her brother, her home and so much that we’ve witnessed. We know what Morgan’s biggest losses are, but he’s also away from what he could call home. Morgan’s had other mentor-mentee relationships – like with Benjamin and Henry and he started to have it with Nick – and they haven’t ended well at all. With Alicia, I think he’s navigating differently. Morgan told her last season that he let her brother go and he isn’t going to do that with her. He’s going to do whatever he has to. She is the future of this group.

Q: We know Dwight is coming this season! Were you excited to add another character from your Walking Dead days?

A: I’ve known for a while that Austin was coming over not too long after I was coming over. I’m just glad that Austin doesn’t have to lie to anybody anymore. He had to keep it for a year! That’s long. [Laughs] I’m also glad he’s with us in his hometown because he knows all the places to get into trouble. I’m looking forward to what could transpire between Dwight and Morgan because although they know about each other, they’ve never actually spoken to each other. I’m looking forward to the first words spoken between these two men.

Q: How different is this season for you personally now that it’s your second season on the show and you’re not coming directly from The Walking Dead?

A: Last season, we were introducing characters and dealing with the departure of characters. A lot of last season was about adjustment and putting the pieces together. This season, it’s very much about the forward momentum and what we’re going to do with the puzzle now that it’s put together. We are the gang now. We’re now saying, “we’ve introduced you. Now, walk forward with them.” I think that’s what this season is about.

Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c.

Watch full episodes of Fear the Walking Dead on amc.com and the AMC app for mobile and devices.

To get more exclusive interviews with the cast, join the Fear the Walking Dead Insiders Club.

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