Even though one of pop culture’s biggest juggernauts from the last decade is coming to a close soon, The Walking Dead’s overall presence isn’t going away, thanks to AMC’s spinoff-focused plans for the future. (Not to mention oodles of merch from beyond the TV series.) Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s blood-spatted legacy as reformed villain Negan will continue beyond the flagship drama’s conclusion for the New York City-set spinoff that’s now called The Walking Dead: Dead City. As awesome as it’s been to know the actor and co-star Lauren Cohan will carry the torch for the limited series, the announcement’s timing didn’t seem ideal at the time, and Morgan has shared some less-than-approving (though completely SFW) thoughts about AMC maybe having botched that roll-out.
Fans were made privy to the news that Negan and Maggie would be teaming up for a follow-up project, then called Isle of the Dead, back in March, before Season 11’s middle eight episodes were finished airing. The move in some ways removed all reason to worry about either of the characters’ fates for the remainder of the season, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan told EW he doesn’t think that was the right move, while acknowledging it was far from his call to make.
If anything, one would have thought AMC and the Walking Dead team might have chosen to keep that reveal under lock and key at least until San Diego Comic-Con came around, although I guess I understand that the Rick and Michonne limited series news took precedence in that specific instance. Even if that happened, though, it still wouldn’t have reversed the fact that the entire fandom is aware that Negan and Maggie are living and breathing when Season 11 wraps. (Unless they go full supernatural and it’s actually Maggie’s ghost that’s following Negan around in Dead City like a vindictive guardian angel.)
Weirdly, not even some of The Walking Dead’s top brass had any pull in saying when the spinoff news should go public. Director, effects master, and executive producer Greg Nicotero says he was surprised himself to hear that the announcement was being unveiled so early. In his words:
Considering both Maggie and Negan survived in the comics, and have become as beloved as anyone else in the Walking Dead‘s live-action canon, I dare say a lot of fans wouldn’t have been too worried about either of them getting killed off on TV anyway. But there was at least the chance that such shocking outcomes could play out, which isn’t the case now.
On a more positive note that won’t immediately be clear by the end of this first sentence: Jeffrey Dean Morgan revealed there was a point in time, ahead of the spinoff concept being revealed to him, that he was ready to hang Negan’s leather jacket up for good. But fans can take some comfort in knowing that he was convinced to flip that idea around due to how good the story for Dead City was. So here’s hoping it’s not only worth the long wait, but also the semi-spoiled storylines.
Check out the SDCC trailer for The Walking Dead‘s final episodes below.
The Walking Dead’s final eight episodes will begin airing on AMC on Sunday, October 2, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Head to our 2022 premiere schedule to see what else the ongoing Fall TV season has to offer.
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