Okay… let's start with a reminder that we already had a Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) crossover with Fear the Walking Dead. In the opener to FTWD's fourth season "What's Your Story?," Rick visits Morgan (Lennie James) to convince him to stay with Alexandria post-Saviors – but since there was a fourth season of FTWD with Morgan in it, clearly it didn't work.
But with its fifth season beginning on June 2, could FTWD expand on The Walking Dead's helicopter/missing Rick storyline and actually serve as a "prologue" to AMC's upcoming Rick Grimes film trilogy? If we're reading the words of Walking Dead Chief Content Officer Scott Gimple from WonderCon 2019 correctly, that might just be so.
When asked if TWD and FTWD would ever confront a shared "big bad," Gimple answered in a way that teased the possibility of an upcoming connection much larger than just a common foe:
"This season, I wouldn't classify it as an enemy, but there will be this – beyond Austin [Amelio] – this very interesting commonality, this story strand that's gonna be furthered on this show that started on The Walking Dead. And who knows where it will go? But that's the thing on tap right now."
It wouldn't be the largest leap of faith in the world to say that tjhe "story strand" Gimple is alluding to is the one that saw Rick and Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) leave the Walking Dead playing field in the middle of TWD's ninth season – resulting in a six-year time jump.
Gimple continued, describing the upcoming fifth season as a "beautiful, and action-packed, and hilarious, and sad, and explosive kind of story that actually has to do a lot with one of the characters here, but very much a great deal having to do with another peek into the greater universe of The Walking Dead." That currently unknown character (assumption being Austin Amelio's Dwight, yet there's a feeling of "swerve" there…) will be the focal point of things that have gone on with both FTWD and TWD.
Tying into the helicopter storyline would also be in line with what Gimple had to say recently on a recent edition of Talking Dead – with the "announcement" part at the end of particular note, since many fans have been anxiously waiting for any updated on the Walking Dead film trilogy:
"Fear the Walking Dead is coming up in June, and there is a story in the first half of the season that has to do with one of these greater stories of the universe that will bring in some of the things that all of you guys have seen before, and it will expand it out just a little bit more, and then we'll have an announcement."
Heading into season 5 of Fear the Walking Dead, the group's mission is clear: locate survivors and help make what's left of the world a slightly better place. With dogged determination, Morgan Jones leads the group with a philosophy rooted in benevolence, community and hope. Each character believes that helping others will allow them to make up for the wrongs of their pasts.
But trust won't be easily earned. Their mission of helping others will be put to the ultimate test when our group finds themselves in unchartered territory, one which will force them to face not just their pasts but also their fears. It is only through facing those fears that the group will discover an entirely new way to live, one that will leave them forever changed.
Last month, FTWD cast member Alexa Nisenson (ex-Vulture Charlie) was promoted from recurring to series regular for the upcoming season. Joining Nisenson are Karen David (Legacies, Galavant) as a series regular reportedly named "Grace," and The Walking Dead alum Amelio, reprising ex-Savior Dwight for the fifth season. At WonderCon 2019, it was announced that Ruben Blades would be returning to the series as Daniel Salazar – even making an appearance at the panel.
Nisenson, David, and Amelio join Dwight's crossover comrade Morgan on the upcoming season of The Walking Dead spin-off series, which has undergone some major changes over the past year. Jenna Elfman, Garret Dillahunt, Maggie Grace, Mo Collins, and Daryl Mitchell joined James on the series last season; with Alycia Debnam-Carey, Colman Domingo, and Danay Garcia the only original cast members heading into the fifth season. Daniel Sharman is expected to reprise his role as Troy Otto, though how his character will come into play during the upcoming season is still unknown.
Fear the Walking Dead is executive produced by Scott M. Gimple, showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, as well as Robert Kirkman, David Alpert, Gale Anne Hurd, and Greg Nicotero, and produced by AMC Studios.
AMC's Fear the Walking Dead returns Sunday, June 2, at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT – leading into the series premiere of fantasy-horror adaptation NOS4A2, based on Joe Hill's novel.