Austin Amelio, who played Dwight on The Walking Dead until the eighth season finale, will be joining Fear the Walking Dead in its fifth season. There’s been a lot of speculation surrounding how Dwight finds himself in the same vicinity as Morgan and Co. (in Texas and the surrounding area). That speculation was further fueled by a a quote Scott Gimple, the architect of The Walking Dead universe dropped at Wonder Con recently, citing “a very interesting commonality, this story strand that’s gonna be furthered on this show that started on The Walking Dead.”
Where it concerns Austin Amelio’s character, it actually seems fairly self evident once we understand that Dwight’s entrance into Fear has been in the works as long as Morgan’s crossover. The two were asked to join Fear around the same time, it’s just that only Lennie James’ transfer was announced publicly. From The Metro:
It’s a crossover Lennie knew about when he moved over initially, with Austin having to keep the secret on lockdown for over a year.
‘It’s a very weird situation but not in the way most people might expect,’ Lennie said. ‘Because I knew Austin was coming over from almost the moment I knew I was, so I’ve known for a while.
In other words, this storyline has been in the works since season eight of The Walking Dead, meaning that whatever continuation exists between the two series will date back to before the time jump on The Walking Dead, to even before Rick Grimes disappeared. The helicopter situation is not out of the question, of course, because the helicopters did date back to prior to time jump.
I think it’s more simple than that, however. “The reason that Dwight is on this show is that … knowing Dwight’s character so well and where he was at the end of [The Walking Dead] Season Eight, it sussed so beautifully with what we’re doing,” Scott Gimple said at Wonder Con.
The last we saw of Dwight on The Walking Dead, he was reading a note his wife, Sherry, left for him with only one word on it, “Honeymoon.” The natural continuation of that, of course, is that Dwight is still in search of Sherry. Perhaps he and Sherry honeymooned in the Texas area or dreamed out doing so. Dwight, who is actually not that far behind Morgan, thus makes his way to Texas, only it takes him a few months longer than Morgan.
But I think it’s more than just finding Sherry. I think that’s the end goal, but before Dwight can reunite with his ex-wife, he has to earn his redemption first. Recall the letter Sherry left Dwight back in episode 11 of season 8. “You’ve become everything you didn’t want to be,” she wrote. “I loved who you were. I’m sorry I made you into who you are.”
When Dwight enters Fear, he’s still not the man who used to be. The man that Sherry fell in love with.
“I can say it definitely doesn’t get any easier for him. He’s probably in the darkest spot he’s ever been in … it is heavy … Dwight has definitely been in tough spots on The Walking Dead, it just, it gets tougher for him,” Austin Amelio said at Wonder Con. “That’s all I can say now. It just gets drawn out, the darkness is just drawn out. But I’m excited to show where he is. It’s fun to play that, and he has such a strong purpose, that it does make sense to have him be in this sort of spot.”
What better way to earn the redemption he so desperately seeks than by joining forces with Morgan and his crew, which will begin season 5 on a goodwill mission to find those in need. That’s exactly what Dwight needs to transform himself into the person he used to be and to earn back the right to be with his wife. Will Dwight ever reunite with Sherry? That remains to be seen, but if he can fully earn his redemption, maybe Dwight doesn’t reunite with Sherry in this life, but in the next (in other words, he may die, but at least he’ll die worthy of the man he used to be).