A new The Walking Dead spinoff is coming sometimes in June: it will center on Negan and Maggie and will be called The Walking Dead: Dead City.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan confirmed production is underway on the Walking Dead spin-off series The Walking Dead: Dead City. The actor, who plays Negan, shared a photo of the pilot script to Instagram with the caption, “Here we go. Xxjd… and a shelf full of sonics.”
Premiering in 2023, the new series The Walking Dead: Dead City will follow the unlikely pair – played by Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan – into what AMC calls “a post-apocalyptic Manhattan long ago cut off from the mainland.
“The crumbling city,” AMC adds, “is filled with the dead and denizens who have made New York City their own world full of anarchy, danger, beauty and terror.”
The Walking Dead: Dead City is the fifth spinoff of the original AMC drama based on Robert Kirkman’s comic-book series. Previous spinoffs include Fear the Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: World Beyond and the in-the-works Tales of the Walking Dead and an as-yet-untitled Daryl/Carol spinoff.
While the spinoffs all stand alone, Jeffrey and Lauren teased that it might not be long before their characters Negan and Maggie stumble across some familiar faces again.
“I think the door is open because we are all on the same timeline,” Jeffrey revealed to E! News. “They are existing at the same time. So I think there is the opportunity to bring a character from this show, a character from that show, and do something else that can continue.”
Lauren agreed, saying “there’s hope of a collision” between all of the different shows.
While Jeffrey now says “everyone is very excited about the respective spinoffs and what can come next,” he wasn’t always so sure how Dead City—which will follow Maggie and Negan as they travel “into a post-apocalyptic Manhattan long ago cut off from the mainland,” according to the network—would even work in the first place.
“When the idea was first pitched, I thought it was as crazy as you probably did,” he said. “How do you put these two characters together? There was a lot of talk about spinoffs and how they would do it. They were talking to Lauren and I about doing our own.”
Jeffrey continued, “One day, [The Walking Dead Universe chief content officer] Scott [Gimple] said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this idea and it’s the two of you.’ I remember I talked to Lauren the next day on set and we were both eyebrows raised going, ‘How the f–k does that work?'”
How the f–k that works, Lauren argued, is by not running away from the existential nature of Negan and Maggie’s relationship.
“It’s a good territory for us to get into as actors, but our audience is going to want to see it,” she said. “It is so much left on the table. If you’re tethered to somebody you have every reason to never want to deal with and want to hate and you have to, for me it just brings up the biggest questions you can have in life.”
As for when those questions will be addressed? Jeffrey insisted fans won’t have to wait long.
“I think those are all going to be answered in the first year,” he said. “I think they’re going to be answered, really, in the first couple episodes. It’s really interesting. It’s really interesting storytelling.”
Jeffrey credited Lauren with making the transition to a spinoff a seamless one, but warned that not everything can stay rosy for long.
“A lot of it felt the same. We had an intimacy from just being around each other for the last seven years,” he said. “But at the same time, we got to do all this new stuff and dive into dark places that you really need to trust your partner. Make no mistake, we really are partners in this, on screen and off, and yet she might kill me at any moment. Or maybe me her. Who knows?”
Jeffrey Dean Morgan on almost walking away from The Walking Dead: Dead City
What was surprising to the man playing Negan was the fact that he even wanted to do the show in the first place. “If you had told me that a year ago that I would be doing it, I would’ve said, ‘There’s no way. I’m going to end this and walk away.'” says Morgan. “The new adventure awaits doing something else.'”
So what changed? The actor pauses and considers: “I think that The Walking Dead ending and walking away from it would’ve been a noble thing for us all to do. But the story was so good and so worth telling that it simply came down to, I couldn’t say no. And I felt invigorated and wanted to continue it.”
Eli Jorné has been tapped to executive-produce the six-episode Season 1 along with Cohan and Morgan.
Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan reaction to the news
Jorné “has created something incredibly special,” said Cohan. She added “I cannot wait for the fans to see what we have in store for Maggie and Negan.” For his part, Morgan exclaimed, “Walkers in an urban setting has always been such a cool image, but 5th Avenue, [the] Empire State Building, [the] Statue of Liberty? The greatest city in the world?!? The backdrop is amazing,” he continued, “but it’s the story that Eli Jorné cooked up that is even better. Buckle up, folks, Isle of the Dead is going to reinvent the Walking Dead Universe.”
The six-episode series will launch on AMC and AMC+ in 2023.
Gaius Charles is set as a lead opposite Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Isle of the Dead, AMC’s upcoming New York City-set The Walking Dead spinoff series.
Charles will play Izaak. He’s confident, ruthless, and unyielding in the pursuit of what he believes is justice, with the force of his will and his menace. Izaak enjoys his work and intersperses humor with the terror he incites. This is a family man, devoted to building a safe world for his wife and daughters. His journey unearths a loss he is haunted by. He has patience and resilience and walks rather than runs from his mistakes.
“Negan is a bit of a screwup,” laughs Morgan. “He’s just that guy that you want to smack. He’s a punchable guy, and I understand that, being the guy that says the stuff that comes out of his mouth. I want to punch him sometimes!”
“I think time apart probably will make it worse. Negan has an opportunity to kind of fall into some old habits, because it’s all a survival mechanism for him, especially if he’s not with the group. The group kind of tamed him in a lot of ways, and to fit in, he had to stop being who he was. And I think away from this group, he is likely to fall into some old traps and old behaviors.”
“Look, it’s an apocalypse,” says Morgan. “We know how Negan has survived. We have seen him in his progression on how he’s survived and what he does to adapt, and I think he will always be adaptable in any situation. But away from people, he doesn’t do well.”
“As uneasy of an alliance it is that Maggie and Negan have, I think Negan being out of Maggie’s line of sight for a couple years is still never going to make what happened for her go away. I don’t know if us getting along in any way is going to last. I don’t know if it can.”
We know that he’s going to run off to New York City,. It’s him and Maggie, and there’s not a lot of people with him. So, if I do the math on this, he’s going to be in trouble. It’s going to be a bad combination for him.
Lauren Cohan talks Maggie in New York
All things considered, Maggie Rhee ended in a pretty good place at the conclusion of The Walking Dead. She saved her son. She saved the Commonwealth, she (kind of) forgave Negan for brutally murdering her husband. And she was back at the Hilltop.
Of course, nothing stays good for very long in the world of The Walking Dead, and it seems the good times will no longer be rolling when things pick back up in April on AMC’s Maggie and Negan spin-off, The Walking Dead: Dead City. That’s according to Maggie herself, Lauren Cohan.
“We end up picking up in New York at the bottom of a really unexpected mountain,” Cohan tells EW, “where maybe things have gone well for a period of time, but we’re back at this challenge, just like these challenges that always seem to keep cropping up.”
Dead City will pick up a few years after the conclusion of the mothership series, and the question remains as to what happened in those unseen years that ultimately leads the dysfunctional duo north to New York City. Whatever it is, it’s not good.
“Nothing is through rose-colored glasses,” says Cohan of the journey. “Because the thing that comes up, it’s like, okay, so we overcame this obstacle of the Commonwealth and these things, that doesn’t mean life is easy just because you quashed one enemy. And the enemy is this moving target. It’s also the enemy within.”
While Cohan will not reveal the specific event or incident that gets her and Negan back together in the Big Apple, she does mention the word “parenting” a few times in our chat, and also reveals that, “When we go into the new show, Maggie’s greatest weakness is definitely exploited.”
Could that mean her son Hershel’s safety is at risk? Then again, parenting is a pretty big deal, and Cohan also notes that “Sometimes it’s not the big things that are the hard things, it’s the little things. And those little things become very, very big things because they are our own blind spots, and they are our own greatest weakness.”
Bottom line: Who knows what the hell she’s talking about. But it’s clear that the cease fire between Maggie and Negan that we saw on The Walking Dead finale may have… well, ceased.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan told EW that Negan will be reverting to some of his old ways after being separated from the group.
Cohan teases that “It’s going to be really, really hard for her to continue, even with the best intentions she had of letting Negan have his territory and her getting on with her life and finding the hope and trying to build this future.”
It also sounds like the new, unfamiliar territory of a zombie-infested New York City will not help matters either: “She has to go through this new terrain of going into New York City. That’s going to be really difficult and physically challenging.”
Translation: Nothing is going to be easy for Maggie. But if there is one thing we have learned about the character after she lost her mother… and her stepmother… and her stepbrother… and her father… and her sister… and her husband… and too many friends to mention, it’s that she possesses an incredible resilience in the face of unthinkable adversity.
“It feels really important to me now with how we move forward with the story,” says Cohan, “Because the reality of a life of extreme friction and challenge is that you need to keep moving forward.”
New Cast Members for The Walking Dead: Dead City Announced!
- Jonathan Higginbotham as Tommaso
- Željko Ivanek as The Croat
- Mahina Napoleon as Ginny
- Karina Ortiz as Amaia
Teaser & more
Television Critics Awards portraits
Are you excited about this new The Walking Dead spinoff on Negan and Maggie?