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SYFY WIRE The Walking Dead

Even Jeffrey Dean Morgan was surprised by the timing of that 'Walking Dead' spinoff announcement

Negan Lives, at least until the next series.

By Matthew Jackson
The Walking Dead 1109 Negan PRESS

Just a few weeks ago, The Walking Dead celebrated the midseason premiere of its final season, marking the beginning of the end for one of modern television's greatest powerhouses. There are still several episodes to go until the show wraps up a triumphant 11 season run on AMC, which means there's lots of room for surprises, and we still have no idea which characters will survive. 

Unless you're talking about Negan and Maggie. We know those characters will definitely live to fight another day, because earlier this month AMC announced Isle of the Dead, a spinoff starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan which will take their characters to the island of Manhattan, where they'll see what life with walkers is like on that particular patch of American soil. 

Though we've known for some time that The Walking Dead universe is far from over even though the flagship show is coming to an end, announcing a spinoff series so close to the end of Season 11 came as a surprise to many viewers, and it was even more surprising due to the characters involved. Maggie and Negan have spent the last couple of seasons morphing from mortal enemies to grudgingly co-existing in a world where they have to have each others' backs to survive at all, and there's been considerable narrative tension over whether or not they'd make it out of the series without killing each other. Now we know they will, and it's a little surprising we found out so soon. 

But it's not just fans who were shocked by the spinoff reveal. Even Morgan himself was caught off guard by the timing. During a call-in to The Rich Eisen Show this week, Morgan took a break from chatting about sports with Eisen to talk a bit about Isle of the Dead, and noted that he's still not done filming the series finale of The Walking Dead, so he's a bit surprised that word of the spinoff got out so quickly.

“I guess we don’t need to die. Spoiler Alert, folks. Sorry!” said Morgan at the 12:15 mark. “I’m still not sure why we announced that already. It was sort of a shocker to me.”

Eisen followed up the Isle of the Dead talk by asking about work on the series finale, which Morgan said is happening "as we speak" under a certain level of secrecy among the cast and crew. 

"There's always like a veil of secrecy. It's not as crazy as it was like five years ago with fans trying to figure out what was going on, but there's a certain kind of craziness with this last season, and especially this last bit of the last season. It's been a little bit nutty again, but you know, we're close, and I think the fans are gonna be happy."

The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC. Isle of the Dead arrives on the network in 2023.