A few weeks ago, we found a clue in images from the upcoming fourth season of Fear the Walking Dead that more or less revealed that there would be a major time jump on the series, allowing it to catch up with the events on The Walking Dead. The time jump has now been confirmed by Robert Kirkman himself, who wrote in the Letter Hacks section of the latest issue of The Walking Dead comics, “This half of season 8 leads directly into Fear the Walking Dead season 4, which will shake that show in a majorly cool way. So make sure you hang around for that.”
What Kirkman has not revealed yet is how Morgan Jones ends up on Fear the Walking Dead, but now that we definitely know there’s a time jump, it opens up some interesting possibilities, chief among them the opportunity to introduce some of the new Fear the Walking Dead characters in the back half of this season of The Walking Dead.
Look: We know that Fear the Walking Dead is going to experience a major shake-up this year. In addition to the time jump, it’s introducing several new characters played by the likes of Jenna Elfman, Garret Dillahunt, and Maggie Grace, among others. We know that the tone and story of the show will change, as well, with two new showrunners on board, Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg. Robert Kirkman himself said that it would be a “much different show.”
The key here, however, is that Scott Gimple has been promoted to oversee both Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead, and he will be the architect in charge of how those two shows work together. My gut feeling suggests that there will be more involved than simply moving a popular character from The Walking Dead over onto Fear the Walking Dead. If the season finale of The Walking Dead leads directly into the season premiere of Fear the Walking Dead, there’s probably more than a shared character. There’s probably a shared storyline, too.
To wit: There are 1400 miles separating Alexandria, Virginia and Houston, Texas, which is where the fourth season of Fear the Walking Dead is set. Morgan’s journey from Alexandria to Houston is as much a The Walking Dead story as it is a Fear the Walking Dead story. We also know that several new Fear the Walking Dead characters will be introduced this season. But what if Morgan meets those characters on the way to Houston, and what if that journey is included in the back half of this season of The Walking Dead?
It makes total sense for AMC. The Walking Dead fetches 5 times more viewers than Fear the Walking Dead. AMC is hoping that Morgan will bring more The Walking Dead viewers over to Fear, but the best way to do that is not simply to say goodbye to Morgan on The Walking Dead and wait for him to show up on Fear. The smart thing to do would be to have Morgan meet and interact with several of these new Fear characters in the back half of The Walking Dead, allow The Walking Dead viewers to get invested in those new characters and their storylines, and then pick up that same story as it continues on Fear the Walking Dead.
Again, we don’t know for sure that’s how Morgan’s departure will be handled, but Fear could use all the help it can get as it reboots for season four. With Gimple overseeing both shows, in fact, I could see this becoming a regular thing: Having Morgan as the link between both series offers AMC the opportunity to share not only characters but storylines. Instead of being a “companion” series, Fear would become a sister series, and The Walking Dead could realistically operate the same way the superhero shows on The CW do — a story can begin on one show and end on the other. If this is the route the series follows, it might even allow the two shows to have a The Avengers type crossover once The Walking Dead reaches The Commonwealth storyline.