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The Real Reason Fear The Walking Dead's Time Jump Is Seven Years

Time jumps are a tried and tested storytelling device. While they tend to give a short, sharp shock to the audience's system, this doesn't mean they only exist for shock value. Consider "Fear the Walking Dead," which joined the time skip troops at the beginning of Season 8 and abruptly lurched ahead in time just after the ending of Season 7 gave viewers the surprise return of Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) – who'd been absent since Season 4 — and some insight into the mysterious PADRE. However, there was actually a very good reason for muddying the waters with the seven-year time jump, and it's inherently related to PADRE's apparent mission to abduct children from their parents. 

"It came from us when we were planning out the season," co-showrunner Ian Goldberg told Insider, confirming that the time jump was done on the show's own terms instead of being mandated from above. He also confirmed that the reason for the time skip was to show what PADRE is all about. "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."

As for the actual length of the time skip, there's a very specific reason for that as well. Seven years is how much the showrunners wanted to age up baby Mo (Avaya White). 

A new age for Fear the Walking Dead and a newly aged Baby Mo

The entire "Fear the Walking Dead" timeline can already be a tricky thing to keep track of, given the great many locations and events over the course of the show. Regardless of how you might feel about the time skip adding to it, Ian Goldberg made clear that there was a specific narrative reason for it: To show what years with PADRE have done to baby Mo, now portrayed by Zoey Merchant and known as "Wren." 

"The driving thing was we wanted to see what it was like to actually be a kid that grows up inside of PADRE and what the product of that is when you've grown up there," explained Goldberg. "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 PADRE philosophy."  

As such, the specific length of the time jump was decided to bring Mo to a certain age ... though it will be interesting to see what other effects the seven-year jump may have to "Fear the Walking Dead's" last season