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SYFY WIRE The Walking Dead

'The Walking Dead' heads to NYC with spinoff series 'Isle of the Dead' starring Negan & Maggie

Can these longtime enemies bury the hatchet after so much literal and figurative bad blood?

By Josh Weiss
The Walking Dead 1103 PRESS

The Walking Dead's unlikeliest of allies — Maggie Greene-Rhee (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) — are officially teaming up for a new spinoff project set within AMC's undead universe, the network announced Monday.

Maggie and Negan will join forces for Isle of the Dead, a show that takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of Manhattan. Why they travel there and more importantly, why they travel there together remains to be seen. Long since cut off from the rest of the world, the Big Apple, a major locale we haven't yet visited within the context of TWD, is now inhabited by — what else? — hordes of walkers and human survivors who have turned the once-thriving metropolis into an epicenter of anarchy, danger, beauty, and terror. Sounds like we should be readying ourselves for some serious Escape from New York and The Purge vibes.

Slated to arrive on AMC and AMC+ sometime next year, the project (Season 1 will contain six episodes) hails from veteran Walking Dead writer and co-executive producer, Eli Jorné, who is on board as showrunner and executive producer. Scott M. Gimple, grand overseer of the entire brand will executive producer alongside Cohan and Morgan.

“This is a very big day for the expanding universe we are building around The Walking Dead,” Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks, said in a statement. “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.”

“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,” added Gimple. “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.”

Check out the official key art below:

Isle of the Dead Key Art PRESS

Both Maggie and Negan have been noticeably absent from the wider narrative over the past several weeks as the eleventh and final season continues to focus on day-to-day life in the Commonwealth. Following the battle with the Reapers, Maggie decided to restart Hilltop (which seems to have a strained relationship with the Commonwealth), while Negan decided to get the hell out of dodge before a revenge-fueled Mrs. Rhee decided to come for his head.

There's been serious beef between these two characters ever since the start of Season 7, which kicked off in the most brutal way possible by having Negan beat Maggie's husband — the fan favorite Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) — to death with a baseball bat. It'll be interesting to see how the duo is able to bury the hatchet after so much literal and figurative bad blood.

“I’m thrilled to partner with Dan McDermott and the team at AMC on the next chapter in The Walking Dead Universe," Cohan said. "Maggie is very close to my heart and I’m excited to continue her journey against the iconic backdrop of New York City, alongside my friend and collaborator, Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Eli Jorné has created something incredibly special and I cannot wait for the fans to see what we have in store for Maggie and Negan."

“I’m delighted that Negan and Maggie’s journey continues," Morgan concluded. "It’s been such a ride walking in Negan’s shoes, I’m beyond excited to continue his journey in New York City with Lauren.  Walkers in an urban setting has always been such a cool image, but 5th Avenue, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty? The greatest city in the world?? The backdrop is amazing, 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 TWD Universe.  Huge thank you to Dan McDermott, Scott Gimple and AMC for having us back for more… we simply can’t wait."

Likely set after the events of Season 11, Isle of the Dead is the latest branching title to be announced as the flagship series begins to wind down. Two more projects, anthology of unrelated stories (Tales from The Walking Dead) and a currently-untitled Daryl/Carol spinoff set after the series finale will join Fear the Walking Dead and Walking Dead: World Beyond.

The only big mystery is this: will anyone of note actually die before The Walking Dead is over? How many of our favorite characters are protected from a grisly doom by spinoff armor?

New episodes of The Walking Dead's final season are airing Sunday's on AMC at 9 p.m. EST. AMC has yet to announced a premiere date for the third and final chunk of eight episodes.