WARNING: Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 6 and comic series ahead!
After months of waiting audiences finally got to see the reunion between Rick and Morgan in Sunday's premiere of The Walking Dead Season 6. The last time we left Morgan back in Season 3, he was a shell of a man, barely keeping a grip on reality, but as Season 5 revealed, times have certainly changed for Morgan who now looks like a fully fledged badass. But where exactly did Morgan gain his new skills and outlook on life, and from whom?
After his arrival in Alexandria, Rick, not being one to take risks, kept Morgan isolated from the community while he worked out if Morgan would be a good or bad addition to the town. While in his "cell," Rick goes to question his old acquaintance about where he learned his new staff fighting skills:
Rick: Where'd you learn that?
Morgan: A friend
Rick: Before or after? I ask, you answer, it's common courtesy, right?
Morgan: It was after, after everything
Hmm, so he learned his new skills from a friend, did he? But who exactly is that friend and why is he no longer with him? Well Comicbook.com has put together a theory that Morgan's friend is a soon-to-be introduced character by the name of Paul 'Jesus' Monroe.
Jesus is a character in The Walking Dead comic series, who readers are introduced to in issue 91, and who is rumored to be joining the TV series some time in Season 6. Without revealing too much, he's a resident of another walled community, similar to Alexandria by the name of Hilltop. Jesus (so nicknamed because of his long hair) is a very capable character, with many skills similar to those that Morgan has displayed, including fighting with a staff/stick. While Jesus and Morgan have no prior connection in the comic series, that doesn't mean that this couldn't be changed for the TV series—after all, Morgan had a much different introduction to the group in the comic series as well.
But, that's just one theory and while strong in some places, falls down in others. Eagle-eyed viewers of the premiere episode may have noticed another clue to who Morgan's friend might have been:
In a flashback scene at the start of Episode 1, we see the map and rabbit's foot that Morgan carried with him as he traveled to find Rick (the map that Abraham had originally given Rick, which was left in Gabriel's church). Next to these items is a book which I also believe belonged to Morgan. The book is titled 'The Art of Peace' and was written by the creator of the Japanese martial art aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. This book would explain why Morgan has a staff, which is called a 'jō' in aikido, and also account for his new outlook on life. 'The Art of Peace' tells "that the real way of the warrior is based on compassion, wisdom, fearlessness, and love of nature."
While the book doesn't exactly reveal the identity of Morgan's friend, it does give the impression that he may have trained under an aikido expert recently, though what happened to Morgan's friend is left completely open.
With many theories floating around about where Morgan went, and who he was with, it's obvious fans are waiting with baited breath to see Morgan's backstory. But never fear, because Robert Kirkman has confirmed that we will definitely see it in Season 6, though when that will happen we'll just have to wait and see!
Episode 2 of The Walking Dead "JSS" will air on Sunday, October 18th on AMC