Walking Dead: Dead City more than just Maggie Negan tension

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - The Walking Dead: Dead City _ Season 1 - Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - The Walking Dead: Dead City _ Season 1 - Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/AMC /

June 2023 will see the debut of the first direct spinoff of The Walking Dead series. The Walking Dead: Dead City will be a continuation of stories revolving around two main series characters, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). It seems an odd coupling since these characters have long been at odds and their conversation during the main series’ final episode. There will be more to this story than the same Maggie/Negan drama.

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

When it was announced that Maggie and Negan would be teaming up for a spinoff, viewers realized something significant would have to occur to require these two to team up. Most believed it would have to involve Maggie’s son Hershel, a character recast for the spinoff by actor Logan Kim. And this was precisely the case.

The pair will head to Manhattan searching for a man called The Croat (Željko Ivanek) who has abducted Hershel. Dead City will be a drastic change from the wooded setting of the main series as this story will be set in the cityscape of an apocalyptic NYC. This alone will set this series apart from the original story, and the fact that Manhattan has been overrun by a horde of walkers over one million strong.

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The Walking Dead: Dead City – time jump

Dead City takes place a few years after the events of The Walking Dead’s last episode, and during that time, Negan has made new enemies. Marshal Perlie Armstrong (Gaius Charles) is in charge of keeping law and order in a state known as New Babylon, and he is searching for Negan. Somehow Negan is the key to securing Hershel’s release.

The last Maggie and Hershel were seen in TWD finale, they were happily situated at a rebuilt Hilltop. From information revealed in interviews, it sounds like Hershel is abducted, and Maggie follows The Croat and his crew back to Manhattan. Where she picks up with Negan is unclear, and what has occurred with him during the past few years is also a mystery. Hopefully, one that is clarified in the storyline.

Showrunner Eli Jorné has used the words grief, loss, and trauma to describe the relationship between Maggie and Negan and states that this series will not shy away from the tension between them. How could it? This is something that will always hang heavily between them. Jorné said, “We get to really zero in and peel away all these layers and go deeper and deeper and challenge the characters”

At WonderCon 2023, Cohan had this to say about the tension between Maggie and Negan:

"The tension and unmovable things are still very present. We’ve seen them intersect so often, but in this show, it’s really this tunnel that they’re trapped in to face things they may have run away from, more so what Maggie has run away from and what Negan brings up for her. It’s like an exercise in intimacy with the worst person."

Morgan has even stated that after being separated from the main group, he will likely fall into old behaviors. At the end of the flagship series, he left with his wife Annie (Medina Senghore), who was pregnant.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Morgan had this to say of Negan:

"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."

While the series will inevitably see the tension between Maggie and Negan, the new characters and change in scenery will create a new story very different from the main series.

The Walking Dead: Dead City will premiere on AMC and AMC+ on June 18, 2023, at 10 p.m. ET. This will immediately follow the midseason 8 finale of Fear the Walking Dead. 

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