The Walking Dead: Lennie James Interview - Season 8, Morgan's Arc, & All-Out War
Season 8 And All-Out War
James Hunt: Hi Lennie, how you doing?
Lennie James: Hi mate, not bad thanks. James Hunt? Were your parents big motor racing fans by any chance"
JH: Haha, I think it was just a coincidence to be honest. I do get that a lot though, especially when the movie came out."
LJ: [Laughing] I bet you do, I bet you do.
JH: Ha. So, into The Walking Dead. Morgan was in a very interesting place when Season 7 ended, as he’d killed again - what can you can tell us about his arc in Season 8
LJ: He has to deal with that decision basically, that's the exploration in Season 8. All against a backdrop of war, a war he has decided to take part in. He's decided to stand back-to-back with Rick and be on his side, and Season 8 will explore the consequences of that for Morgan.
JH: Morgan was apart from the Alexandrians for most of Season 7 - will he be right back in the fold this time around?
LJ: We are and we aren't, there's a lot of chopping-and-changing. Because it's war, and because people are being sent out on different missions with different targets, there's a lot of mixing-and-matching. Lots of different configurations happen in Season 8, which is absolutely lovely.
JH: So is there anyone you've really been wanting to work with that you got to film with this year?
LJ: Yeah. I hadn't really worked with Alanna Masterson, who plays Tara, and we get to explore some stuff in Season 8. I hadn't really worked with Tom Payne, who plays Jesus, either, and I got some interactions with him. Those are the two that come to mind, but there are a few others.
JH: I'm glad you mention Jesus, as in the Season 8 trailer, we saw Morgan sparring with him. Is that a mentor type situation, or are you testing each other?
LJ: It's an example for each of them of the skills that they have, and, you know, it's a mess around.
JH: Cool. And do we get more of your and Rick's relationship, given you've often served as his conscience in the past?
LJ: Yeah, I have to stop people saying that, because whenever someone becomes the voice of reason or Rick's moral compass they end up dead. They lose their heads, they lose their legs, they get shot, they end up dead. And they end up walking with the dead. So I would rather if you could tell everybody you know out there in the world, all your readers, that Morgan is not the moral compass of this show.
I like my job, and I'd quite like to keep doing it, so Morgan isn't the moral compass because someone on this show might notice! We're at war in this season, and the war is everything. It's the backdrop to all of the conversations, the changes in relationships, and Rick and Morgan at some point do find the time to come back together, but everything happens on the run, on the way to something or on the way from something. There isn't a huge amount of time to stand still and contemplate our navels.
JH: That sounds exciting, as Season 7 received quite a bit of criticism for its pacing. Can fans expect you to get right into it and just go for it from day one?
LJ: Yeah, I have heard that. It's going on [this year]. Like I said, it's war, and we're taking that war seriously.
NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far.
A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.