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Lennie James On His Return To ‘Walking Dead’ – What ‘Clear’ Means & Whether He’ll Be Back

Lennie James On His Return To 'Walking Dead' - What 'Clear' Means & Whether He'll Be Back

Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead was probably one of it most *quiet* and one in which I’d say I felt the most sadness for the plight of its characters, focusing solely on a journey taking by Rick, his son Carl and Michonne, during which they run into a man from Rick’s past.

Yes, Lennie James returns for an episode as Morgan. We hadn’t seen him since season 1 – the pilot episode actually.

We wondered whether we’d ever see Morgan again, and, after lots of teasing last year about his potential re-emergence, it finally happened during last night’s episode. And what an episode it was for Lennie/Morgan, who really got to shine in ways he didn’t have an opportunity to, in the previous only episode he’d appeared in. 

Will he be back again for another episode in the future?

In an interview (posted this morning) with MTV, Lennie James answered that question, and much more about his appearance on last night’s episode. 

Here’s a sample…

On how his return came together, James said:

The time tables worked out, and the story has gotten to a point where I suppose they needed a bit more of Morgan. We managed to make the dates work. I’d been in contact with [executive producer Gale Anne Hurd] on and off over the years; she’d check in with me and I’d check in with [AMC]. We finally made it work. It was fairly straightforward, how it came about in the end.

On what Morgan meant about having to “clear,” which he says a few times, and which is also the title of the episode, James replied:

He’s a man who’s grieving, a man who feels he’s being punished, and a man who on one level wishes he was dead. But he’s not dead. I think at that point, some people with death wishes, they take huge risks. For Morgan, his risk, the only justification he can find in the crazy world he finds himself in — his wife is gone, and his son is gone, and the only thing he can find to justify that is he must be here for a purpose. And his purpose is to wipe out as many of the walkers as he possibly can, to wipe out everybody. That’s all that’s left for him. That’s the road he’s on. He’s a man on a mission; he’s a man with no name. The only thing he can achieve, and the only sense he can make of not killing his wife and only doing it after she’d bitten his son, is that somewhere, the Gods, the universe, something is saying, “Your job here is to kill.” That’s what he means. It’s his job to “clear.”

And on whether he’ll return:

If they want me, if they offer something as juicy as what was offered on this particular episode, then I’d seriously consider [returning]. I enjoy my time on “Walking Dead.” There are very few shows, almost no shows out there like it. I’ve really liked my time in Atlanta and my time working with Andy Lincoln. If all of those things match up again, then why not? But I have no idea if I’m in their thoughts or if it’s even a possibility at this point.

So, don’t expect to see him back anytime soon, is my guess. You know what the old joke is – can’t have more than 2 black character regulars on the show at the same time. If Morgan’s journey continues in successive episodes, expect to see one of the other 2 (Michonne or Tyreese) fall victim to zombie bites.

For the full in-depth interview, click HERE.

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Joe Doughrity

Mr. Lennie James is starring in AMC's new show "Low Winter Sun" so he will be back on the AMC Network at least if not on "The Walking Dead"!

willie dynamite

Okay last comment on this, but I am so glad they didn't go the typical route and have him instantly recognize Rick initially. It reminded me of the episode of the Wire when Duquan was reminiscing about the time, two summers ago, that they threw piss balloons on a rival group of boys and then all got ice cream. Michael had seen and done so much that he couldn't remember that. Heavy exposition on the toll trauma takes on the mind.

willie dynamite

Lenny did his thing on that episode. I hope it doesn't get forgotten about come Emmy time. It was a great way to show how the human mind is affected by that new way of living. He's come a long way from the thief in Snatch. I love when talented actors get a chance to show their chops.


I honestly believe that if a black person was to die this season it would be Tyreese.


I 1st saw him while channel-surfing and came upon a black face on JERICHO. I loved the show especially because it featured an INTELLIGENT black man in charge of his situation. The S1 episode "SEMPER FIDELIS" had the best fight scene I 've ever seen. Congrats Mr. James.

Justin W

Last night episode was so good and depressing at the same time. Lennie James's performance was so great and heartbreaking to watch.

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