Why do The Walking Dead spinoffs have six-episode seasons?

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee - The Walking Dead: Dead City Season 1 - Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee - The Walking Dead: Dead City Season 1 - Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/AMC /

Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) will return with more stories to tell in the new series, The Walking Dead: Dead City. This series will premiere in June 2023, and season 1 will consist of six episodes, as will all of the new spinoffs. This may seem odd to viewers, with The Walking Dead ending its run with a mega 24-episode season, but the creators say there is a logical explanation for this.

Dead City showrunner, TWD veteran Eli Jorné, and TWD Chief Content Officer Scott M. Gimple talked with Collider about the details of Dead City.  This series will mark the first direct spinoff of The Walking Dead, set in a new location, featuring new characters and pairing up the unlikely duo of Maggie and Negan.

Although a specific date has yet to be announced, fans can expect Dead City in June. This will likely come directly following season 8, part 1 of Fear the Walking Dead, which premieres on May 14 and ends on June 18. The first season of Dead City will consist of six episodes, just as the flagship series had in its first season. The six-episode season was the decision of AMC, but Gimple also states that it is also a 2023 thing where stories are being told in a different cadence. This also allows creators to focus on quality rather than quantity,

"It’s telling stories to be consumed in a very different way. I think it’s actually pushed us to tell stories in a very different way, which I think is a very good thing, after 12 years. I’m a dinosaur. Considering The Walking Dead universe and The Walking Dead storytelling in a very different way has been really rewarding and really interesting, and thank goodness, it’s given us different ways to go about it.”"

Jorné goes on to say that The Walking Dead universe gives viewers various ways to explore the universe. Fans have many options to experience different sides of the apocalypse. These include several spinoffs, a limited series, an anthology-based series, and the long-running flagship series that started it all.

"However it comes out, whenever that happens, and whatever the reasons are for it, I think it ends up being a really cool variety of opportunities to explore the universe, that aren’t all just, “Here’s another show with one character to lead.” As a fan, I think it’s cool."

The Walking Dead: Dead City

Dead City will begin about two years after the conclusion of The Walking Dead series. The story leaves the woods behind and takes Maggie and Negan to a brand new location, apocalyptic New York City, as they seek to rescue Maggie’s son Hershel, who has been kidnapped.

Jorné has compared the landscape to Escape from New York and The Warriors, films also set in NYC that had been transformed into a wasteland overrun with criminals.

Dead City cast

In addition to Cohan and Morgan, this series will have a great list of cast members, including Karina Oritz, Michael Anthony, Randy Gonzalez, Gaius Charles, Mahina Napoleon, David Chen, Saint Marino, Caleb Reese Paul, Matthew R. Staley, Charlie Solis, Jesse Reid, John Wu, Jonathan Higginbotham, Alex Borlo, Alex Huynh, Trey Santiago-Hudson, Eleanor Reissa, Željko Ivanek, Aixa Kendrick and Hedley Harlan.

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