For the second year running, Fear the Walking Dead will be adding in a character from its parent series when season 5 launches next month. Following Lennie James joining the cast as Morgan Jones in season 4, Austin Amelio is crossing over from The Walking Dead to Fear to reprise his role as former savior Dwight.
Of all the characters that could have made the jump over to the sister show, though, why was Dwight chosen? Well, Fear showrunners Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss explained to Entertainment Weekly that it came down to a question of what was the emotional story going to be of season 5 and which crossover character would best fit that. The answer turned out to be Amelio’s redeemed villain.
“We love Dwight. We love Austin Amelio. We’re huge fans of his character and his work on The Walking Dead. When we started to talk about bringing Dwight over, it started in the same place for us emotionally as when we were talking last season about Morgan, and that is: Emotionally, what’s the story we’re telling on a bigger scale this season?”
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Goldberg continued by elaborating on how Fear season 5 will be about the characters making up for the mistakes of their past, something Dwight understands all too well after being one of Negan’s men for years. The exec producer teases that the spinoff will help explain where he went next after he last appeared on TWD back in the season 8 finale.
“This season is going to be about our characters grappling with the things they’ve done in their past and looking for redemption through the things they’re doing now, and for anyone who knows Dwight’s story on The Walking Dead, he is someone who did a lot of bad things over his time as a Savior. He hurt a lot of people, he did a lot of things he regrets, but he was given a second chance by Daryl at the end of season 8 when Daryl spared his life and sent him away and told him to find Sherry and to make it right. That’s the last we saw of Dwight on The Walking Dead, and we’re going to see how that’s been going for him and if he’s been able to achieve either of those things that Daryl told him to do.”
Dwight is also one of the few characters that could easily swap over to Fear as he left TWD before all those time jumps kicked in. Things were fast-forwarded so much across season 9 that the parent series is now the best part of a decade ahead of Fear in the timeline. Without a similar lengthy time jump, any future crossovers to Fear will have to come from characters who vacated TWD in season 8 or before.
Fear the Walking Dead season 5 kicks off on AMC in about 10 days, on Sunday, June 2nd.