We're two weeks away from the return of "The Walking Dead" and one week from the "Fear The Walking Dead" finale, but fans have much more to look forward to, according to series creator Robert Kirkman! Variety reports that Kirkman surprised fans at New York Comic-Con with an announcement that the two shows would crossover sometime next year. The announcement came during "The Walking Dead" panel at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. Immediately following the announcement, the official "The Walking Dead" social profiles posted a teaser image and the statement, "This is real".

The crossover of our dreams/nightmares?

Since spinoff "Fear the Walking Dead" was announced, fans have been speculating about when the new kid on the block would crossover with big brother series "The Walking Dead." Although the producers had initially shot down the idea of a crossover, it seems that they've changed their minds.

Kirkman told fans that a character from one of the shows will crossover into the other. While he didn't provide any more specifics on who or how, he did say that this would occur next year and that more details would emerge in the coming months.

Which character could it be?

There are both geographic and chronologic issues with this crossover. Fans know that "The Walking Dead" started in and around Atlanta, before moving northeast to Alexandria, Virginia. "Fear" started in Los Angeles, before moving the action to Mexico, and has since stayed close to the border, hopping between countries.

This means that there is a big country, presumably filled with walkers and Negan-esque villains, between the casts.

When "Fear" started, "TWD"-proper already inhabited a world several years removed from the initial zombie outbreak. The spinoff took us back in time to experience the fall of civilization that "TWD" skipped over while Rick Grimes was in a coma.

As such, "Fear" has always been a few years behind the original, despite the fact that it started later. Again, our main casts are out-of-sync.

That means that, if the crossover character is from "TWD," it would have to be someone we haven't seen for a long time. One character who fits that description and has long been rumored to return is Morales.

Morales who?

Even a hardcore fan could be forgiven for forgetting about this character. He was last seen in season one of "TWD." He was part of the original crew camped outside of Atlanta. When everyone else decided to head to the CDC, he and his family opted to go to Birmingham, Alabama, never to be seen again. Since then, Juan Pareja, the actor who played Morales, has teased his return.

Who else from 'The Walking Dead' could it be?

There are few recognizable characters from "TWD" that has been left behind (alive) that could pop up again. Morgan has already rejoined the group, otherwise he would have been a prime candidate, and it would have been a big deal.

Could Morgan's son Duane still be alive? We never saw him die, but we did see how tormented Morgan was over this loss, and he has described it. It would be strange if this turned out to be incorrect, but this is the show that kept Glenn alive under a magic dumpster, so the precedent for stretching suspension of disbelief is pretty wide.

Another dangling plot thread is the gang that Rick met in Atlanta in S1E4 "Vatos." When we last saw them, Rick was handing over a stash of guns and ammo so they could stay in the city and protect the old folks left behind in a retirement home. We never saw them die in the show, so it is a possibility, but a deleted scene from season 2 reveals their fate, even if it isn't canon. As such, a return is unlikely.

What about Heath?

Perhaps the only other "TWD" character of consequence who remains MIA is Heath, played by Corey Hawkins. He was last seen in the first half of season seven when he became separated from Tara near Oceanside. His death was never shown and a mysterious keycard reading "PPP" was left behind to hint at a bigger story, yet-to-be-told.

Offscreen, the reason Hawkins left was to star in "24: Legacy," but unfortunately for him, that show was canceled. While he seems to have plenty of prospects as an actor, also having appeared in "Kong: Skull Island," "The Walking Dead" showrunner Scott Gimple has previously stated that "we definitely have not seen the last of Heath, period."

The problem with Heath's appearance in "Fear" is that he only recently disappeared from "TWD," which places his character years ahead of events in the younger sibling series. As a result, he's an unlikely candidate for the time being, unless "Fear" makes a massive time jump forward in season four.

What about 'Fear The Walking Dead' characters?

Because "Fear The Walking Dead" takes place in the past of "The Walking Dead," any living character could make an appearance in "TWD" much more easily than in reverse.

Technically, a character could be in both shows at once, playing a younger version in "Fear" and an older version in "TWD."

Making things easier, any character who makes the jump forward in time from "Fear" to "TWD" can easily explain the long distance travel because so much time would have passed, and they'll arrive in Alexandria with a mysterious backstory, potentially making them even more interesting.

Another reason a "Fear" to "TWD" crossover makes more sense is that the spinoff is not faring so well in the ratings, despite the fact that season three has been widely regarded as the best of the entire series. Even as the episodes reach new heights in critical acclaim, week-after-week, the ratings remain in a steady plunge.

As a new showrunner takes over for season four, the show's future may be in doubt. A crossover from "Fear" to the mothership would allow fan favorite characters to continue, even if their show came to an end.

Is a crossover even a good idea?

Fans of "Fear the Walking Dead" often praise it for departing from "The Walking Dead" in terms of story, character dynamics, and atmosphere, but detractors who are fans of the original often criticize for the same reason. It is safe to assume that a crossover will be both celebrated and dreaded, depending on which side of the fan divide one falls on.

It is entirely possible that this announcement comes out of desperation to shore up the "Fear" ratings and bring renewed attention to the series.

This makes sense since producers had consistently shot down the idea of a crossover previously.

About those ratings

A crossover is a great way to generate interest in both shows and encourage fans of one to catch up on the other. It seems that the disappointment of seasons one and two of "Fear" may have discouraged viewers from giving three a chance, which is unfortunate since it has featured some of the best episodes out of either series. Teasing a crossover now may be all that it takes to make fans catch up on season three, and win them back before season four premieres next year.

In the meantime

"The Walking Dead" season 8 premieres on October 22 with its 100th episode. "Fear The Walking Dead" season three will conclude on October 15 with two episodes.