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The Walking Dead's Negan Spinoff Is Officially Happening, And Jeffrey Dean Morgan Won't Be Alone

As soon as The Walking Dead started going harder on setting up spinoffs for its post-apocalyptic mothership series, it seemed like an inevitability that Jeffrey Dean Morgan's ever-popular Negan would be front and center for a future offshoot. Considering the actor voiced his willingness to keep the former villain’s storyline going, it was only a matter of time before AMC pulled the metaphorical trigger with an announcement, and that time has come. Fans can look forward to seeing not only Negan in the location-changing new project, but also the character’s situational nemesis in Lauren Cohan’s Maggie.

The new series will be titled Isle of the Dead, and will be set in the universe’s biggest metropolis since its Atlanta origins. The show will center on Negan and Maggie as they make their way into and through a completely upended Manhattan that has been completely cut off from the rest of the country for many years. To be expected, this island will be full of walkers of all shapes and sizes, but also a population of living citizens who have turned the area into a place that is every bit as uniquely beautiful as it is dangerous and unpredictable. The anarchic setting sounds like the polar opposite of the Commonwealth that is currently being explored on the main Walking Dead series, and will likely force Maggie and Negan to put trust in each other like never before in order to survive. 

Jeffrey Dean Morgan gleefully imagines the Dead-verse incorporating some of the country’s most iconic landmarks when Isle of the Dead arrives. In his words:

I’m delighted that Negan and Maggie’s journey continues. 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.

The first teaser poster for Isle of the Dead definitely plays up the New York City-ness of it all, complete with the franchise’s iconic “Dead Inside” doors. 

First look poster for AMC's Isle of the Dead

(Image credit: amc)

I'm sure the grafitti on the wall and the other signage are clues about what fans can expect, but it's possibly all a little too vague and early on to make any big guesses. Although I do now hope that Negan and Maggie meet up with a character called Traffic Cone. 

Negan is currently unaccounted for on The Walking Dead, having made the surprising decision in the winter premiere to go out on his own after all but one of the Reapers were eliminated. Trailers for the latter chunk of Season 11 already revealed his return was imminent, and with a new friend by his side, so it’s no real shock that the character will apparently earn more late-stage focus than his comic book counterpart did. It is 100% surprising, however, that the new spinoff will focus on him and Maggie, though, since their communication skills with one another leave much to be desired. As much as Morgan might want to go back and stop Negan from killing Glenn, it happened, and the character will forever be in Maggie’ doghouse for it.

Set for a six-episode first season, Isle of the Dead is being written by Walking Dead writer/co-executive producer Eli Jorné, who boasts an overall deal with AMC. He will serve as the showrunner and EP for the new show, with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan also taking on EP roles behind the scenes. Overseeing the entire project will be the franchise's chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, who had his own anticipation-spawning explanation for the show:

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.

Lauren Cohan also sounded excited about going public with the news with her statement, though she wasn't quite as quick to say that the new series will revolutionize everything we know about The Walking Dead. But maybe she's just better about surprises that way.

While Isle of the Dead obviously doesn't have any exact dates locked down for when viewers might be able to tune in, fans can at least expect the Big Apple spinoff to debut at some point in 2023. Until then, be sure to keep watching new episodes of The Walking Dead every Sunday night on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. And then head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see all the new and returning shows popping up soon.

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.