The Walking Dead universe continues to expand, but the latest announcement may come as something of a genuine surprise. AMC have confirmed that one of the upcoming spin-offs – due to arrive some time after the main series finishes towards the end of the year – will centre on Negan and Maggie in a city that never sleeps.
As fans of the series and comic-book will know, Negan is the baseball-wielding survivor who was introduced as the show’s big bad and who subsequently beat two regulars (Abraham and Glenn) to death with ‘Lucille’ (the aforementioned barb-wired bat). Over the subsequent seasons (including a number of time-jumps) Negan hasn’t exactly become a heroic figure, but his pragmatic approach has been reined in and he’s saved the lives of several of the other regulars along the way. He’s not been forgiven or redeemed, but he has become the character that viewers love to not quite hate as much as they once did.
Needless to say Maggie (who was Glenn’s wife) has been harder to convince and though she and Negan were forced to work together at various points, she’s made it clear that as far as she is concerned, his days are numbered. Negan recently headed off on his own to avoid the inevitable.
Maggie (played by Lauren Cohan) has been a main player in the franchise, though after troubled contract negotiations during Season 8, she made limited appearances in Season 9 and went off to headline a new caper comedy Whiskey Cavalier. That series failed to fly and Lauren/Maggie was welcomed back, appearing in the Season 10 finale and as a regular in the current final season. Jeffrey Dean Morgan essays Negan (after successful runs in other genre shows such as Supernatural) and many have speculated as what his series’ fate might be. The two actors have appeared together before, ironically as a married couple: Bruce Wayne’s ill-fated parents in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The new spin-off will be called Isle of the Dead and is planned to run for six episodes. Little is known about the main plot other than it will be set in the post-apocalyptic New York area and will be show-run by Eli Jorné (a writer and co-executive producer on the main show). Those wondering about the title should remember the famous t-shirt ‘I Love NY‘ and then say the new title quickly…
“This is a very big day for the expanding universe we are building around ‘The Walking Dead. It not only adds another compelling series to this collection, it extends our storytelling around two unforgettable characters fans have grown to love, hate or hate and then love in Maggie and Negan, brilliantly inhabited by Lauren and Jeffrey. It also lets us explore a corner of this universe located on the island of Manhattan, with an iconic skyline that takes on a very different meaning when viewed through the lens of a zombie apocalypse,” Dan McDermott, President of Entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks.
“Eli has created a chaotic, beautiful, grimy madhouse of the dead for Negan, Maggie, and fans of the show eager to discover an unseen and insane world of the ‘TWD’ Universe. Lauren and Jeffrey have always been fantastic collaborators and now, we bring that collaboration to the next level with a series that will take these characters to their limits with the world — and each other. All of us are thrilled to take you on an all new, all different ‘TWD’ epic for the ages,” Scott Gimple (the franchise’s chief content officer) added in a statement.
Island of the Dead(for which Cohan and Morgan will also serve as executive producers) will join the recently announced anthology show Tales of the Walking Dead – featuring some familiar faces from the past (Samantha Morton reprising her ‘Alpha’ role) and some newer faces (including Terry Crews, Anthony Edwards, Parker Posey, Poppy Liu, Daniella Pineda and Jillian Bell), the as-yet-untitled Daryl/Carol spin-off with Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride and the long gestating Rick Grimes movie(s) with Andrew Lincoln. Fear the Walking Dead (the first main spin-off continues on AMC) was recently renewed for a seventh season.