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In just a few months' time, The Walking Dead universe will return to our screens with a New York City adventure shared between two of the show's most unlikely allies: Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Last night's series finale brought the characters to a place of semi-mutual understanding. Negan is wholeheartedly apologetic for murdering Glenn (Steven Yeun) all those years ago, and while Maggie can appreciate the man's profound remorse, she tells him straight-up that he'll never be fully forgiven.
So what in the world could possibly bring the pair together for what has to be a suicide mission deep inside zombified Manhattan? An explanation for their team-up in The Walking Dead: Dead City (formerly titled Isle of the Dead) has yet to be revealed, but thanks to some new comments made by Morgan, we do know that the spinoff takes place two years after The Walking Dead's series finale.
"Here’s the problem with those couple of years — we don’t see what happens to these characters," the actor said during a postmortem interview with Deadline. "Negan has an opportunity to fall into his old ways in these missing years. He is very much a creature of habit, and he knows how to survive. When he was with our group there was another way to survive, and he tried to adapt to those ways. I’m worried whatever happens in these two years away from our group, what he will become and who he will become. And so, when Maggie and he are together again, the chance that Negan isn’t who we see as when we leave him here on the show."
Despite being offered the chance to stick around with Annie (Medina Senghore) and their unborn child if they so choose, Negan isn't present in the finale's time jump to a year later. This heavily implies the former leader of the Saviors struck out for greener pastures where nobody hates his guts and he doesn't have to be penitent all of the time. In an environment like that, Negan could begin to slip back into his oilier a**hole tendencies that made him a villain we loved to hate.
"I just thought it was fascinating that you got two characters that kind of hate each other, having to find a way to work together," Morgan added. "We saw a little bit of that last season of The Walking Dead of them having to work together, and we saw how snarky they were with each other and how short they were. And so, I think Dead City is an opportunity to take that to the Nth degree and it’ll be very interesting to see."
"Our showrunner Eli [Jorné] bringing in this new perspective gives us a chance to have a whole new light on our characters," offered Cohan. "To me, it’s like anything good. It’s like a good friendship. You spend a lot of time with somebody. You spend a long time with someone, and it only grows in intensity and in depth and in nuance."
The Walking Dead: Dead City premieres on AMC and AMC+ sometime in April.
Seasons 1-10 of The Walking Dead are currently streaming on Netflix. The jumbo-sized final season can be found on AMC+.
If you're looking to satisfy your zombie craving, head over to Peacock and check out the movie that kickstarted the entire genre: George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Or check out the SYFY original series, Day of the Dead.