- “Fear the Walking Dead” jumps ahead seven years on the premiere of its final season.
- Showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg told Insider it was their idea.
- Chambliss confirmed the jump brings “Fear TWD” into the timeline of the final season of “TWD.”
The eighth and final season of “Fear the Walking Dead” kicked off Sunday night with an unexpected seven-year time jump.
The abrupt time skip was a bit of a surprise since Madison (Kim Dickens) and Morgan (Lennie James) just arrived at the mysterious P.A.D.R.E. community on last year’s finale as they searched for Morgan’s infant daughter, Mo.
When asked if the time jump was a deliberate choice or an order from someone else to try and align “Fear” with either the flagship series, which ended in November, or other spin-offs as the show wraps up, showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg said it was their idea.
“It came from us when we were planning out the season,” Goldberg told Insider over Zoom in April. “We’ve been teasing P.A.D.R.E. as a place and what they’re about all through season seven. We got a peek behind the curtain through Madison at the end of season seven and sort of really understood from her perspective what this place believed in: Separating children from their parents, severing connections between people.”
“The driving thing was we wanted to see what it was like to actually be a kid that grows up inside of P.A.D.R.E. and what the product of that is when you’ve grown up there,” Goldberg continued. “We thought the perfect lens to do that through was baby Mo, not so much a baby when we meet her again. It just felt like the best way to dramatize what it’s like to grow up like as a kid under this P.A.D.R.E. philosophy.”
On the season eight premiere, an aged-up Mo (Zoey Merchant), now known as Wren, is a loyal citizen of P.A.D.R.E. She never wound up back with Morgan. Believing she’s an orphan, Wren spends her days mastering how to kill the undead.
When she has a run-in with Morgan and discovers she’s his adopted daughter, she starts to question her way of life by the premiere’s end.
Chambliss said the choice to skip ahead precisely seven years, a specific and seemingly random number, was a byproduct of Mo.
“The number seven really was chosen based on Zoey Merchant’s age and how old baby Mo was at the end of season seven and kind of extrapolating from there,” Chambliss said.
Goldberg added another reason for the time skip: “As the season goes on, we also see how the rest of the characters have fallen into their roles within P.A.D.R.E. The time jump really gave us a lot of opportunities to show how people assumed certain roles within the structure at P.A.D.R.E.”
When asked where this final season takes place in the ever-expanding “Walking Dead” universe (there are currently three more spin-offs on the way) and whether or not it’s close to the timeline of the upcoming untitled Rick and Michonne series, Chambliss said they’re always trying to keep track of when everything’s taking place.
“It’s really hard to nail down the exact dates of everything,” Chambliss said with a laugh, definitively adding, “But, it’s safe to say that with this time jump, it really brings all of the ‘Fear’ characters very much into line with the timeline of the final season of ‘The Walking Dead’ and the concurrent ‘Walking Dead’ universe.”
The seven-year time jump shockingly wasn’t deliberately done to align the two shows. It’s more of a happy coincidence.
“Lining up with ‘The Walking Dead’ timeline truly was kind of a — it is what it is, but that was not the reason we did it,” Goldberg said.
Still, since final season teasers have shown Morgan back in his hometown of King County Georgia, where “TWD” began, there’s hope the show may try and connect to the flagship series by its end.
The final season of “Fear TWD” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC. New episodes will launch early on AMC+ each Thursday.