Lennie James talks about preparing to reprise his role as Morgan Jones, as well as working with Andrew Lincoln and he even had time to talk about a potential return to The Walking Dead. Will Morgan return?
In a podcast interview with The Walker Stalkers, Lennie James revealed much about his time reprising his role as Morgan, having last been seen in The Walking Dead‘s pilot episode, “Days gone bye.”
“Things that are different, well, it’s a very different show now.”
Morgan’s character returned to 3×12 “Clear,” in one of the best episodes of the series in quite a long time. James revealed that it was “fun to be back.”
But, how has the series changed in James’ eyes? He’d been out of the loop for almost two full seasons, and with the amount of cast and production staff changes, what did James have to say about his time on 3×12 “Clear”?
James said, “Things that are different, well, it’s a very different show now…Nobody had any idea what would happen with the show, and nobody could certainly predict just how huge and successful it became…I’ve had to catch up and make sure I was on my game. It was exciting and a lot of fun to do.”
Since James’ first appearance in the pilot episode, The Walking Dead has become one of the flagship shows in AMC’s array of critically acclaimed televisions series, with The Walking Dead boasting figures of roughly 10 million viewers every Sunday evening.
“The writing was so good that all we had to do was say what we’ve been given to say and be true to the word.”
With James’ reprisal as Morgan, it was a story that had been kept quietly under wraps. But James knew of a potential return from the pilot episode.
James said, “The first time I had an exact idea when it was going to happen was right from the off on the pilot, there was a notion that at some point that Morgan would come back, but this time around I think it was around about March/April of last year. We got the telephone call saying from the production team, saying that they are working on the third season and they’re very interested in bringing me back and would I be up for it? I said yes.”
James had to wait patiently for a long time to return to set and work closely with Andrew Lincoln, whom he’d shared many scenes with in the pilot episode. James revealed that the production crew, “were incredibly respectful of the scene” and were “really focused” to keep all movement between takes to an absolute minimum. James also notes that they were trying to cherish the scene and give it exactly what it needed. “It was intense, but that was really lovely.”
But James also noted that working with Lincoln was “very easy.” In the run through of the scenes they would both lay down what they could offer for the scene and talk it over.
James said, “We would talk about it a lot…and it was very easy we didn’t over-think it. The writing was so good that all we had to do was say what we’ve been given to say and be true to the word. We didn’t try and make it any harder than it needed to be and we’d try to be respectful of the scene.”
And in regards to working with Lincoln on the scene, James noted, “The whole acting relationship we had between us is quite focused, and we let it be what it needed to be, and we tried not to carry it with us quite so much.”
However, James hadn’t stepped foot on The Walking Dead set for quite a long time. How on earth did James prepare to reprise his role as Morgan?
“I heard Robert saying that actually the return of Morgan was like coming back and playing a different character, and to a certain extent that was true.” said James.
“But, I also had to join the dots between the guy that everyone would remember in the first episode and the guy they are about to meet in season 3 episode 12. I reminded myself of the pilot episode and I read Scott’s script over and over again and tried to do justice to the story that Scott was trying to tell, of a man who when we meet him he’s neck deep in regret and guilt and bereavement I tried to do justice to that, and that was pretty much my preparation.”
And with one of the stand-out performances of the series to date, fans have flocked to the appraisal of James for giving such an amazing performance in 3×12 “Clear.” The one question fans have for both The Walking Dead and James, is would he be reprising the role of Morgan for one last time? Rumours had circulated that he may be returning for 3×16 “Welcome to the Tombs.” What did James have to say about the rumours?
“In all honesty, that’s the first I’ve heard of it. I’ve heard nothing of Morgan and another episode at the moment. That either means something or nothing and at this particular moment I really don’t know. As I said to the people on The Walking Dead, I’d be happy to talk about the last return of Morgan if we can make the dates work, I’m more than happy to show up on set and shoot some zombies and give Rick a hard time.”
It’s with deep regret that James’ reprisal of Morgan looks unlikely at this moment, but there appears to be room for James to come back as Morgan at some point in the future.
What did you think of Lennie James’ reprisal of Morgan Jones? Would you like to see Morgan return in The Walking Dead? Or has Morgan served his purpose?
The Walking Dead returns this Sunday on AMC at 9pm ET/PT for 3×13 “Arrow on the Doorpost.“