Why ‘The Walking Dead’ Fans Should Be Excited About ‘Dead City’

Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in 'The Walking Dead: Dead City'
Peter Kramer/AMC

Are you ready to go sightseeing in the world of the Walking Dead?

Okay, that’s not really what AMC’s newest TWD Universe offering, The Walking Dead: Dead City, is about. Nonetheless, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) are heading for a popular tourist destination: New York City. It’s a majorly different setting for a franchise that spends a ton of time in the woods, and it’s taking one of its most volatile character pairings on a dangerous mission. Here’s why we think it’ll be worth fans’ time to tune in.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan in 'The Walking Dead: Dead City'

Negan and Maggie’s Dynamic

Any spinoff is only as good as the characters shown largest on its poster—and Dead City has two incredibly compelling mains. Maggie Rhee isn’t quite a member of the “Atlanta Three,” but as a Season 2 addition, she’s still one of the longest-surviving members of the early group. She’s proven herself a strong fighter and an even stronger leader, and Dead City promises to delve a little deeper into her darker side. And on the subject of dark sides, we’re predicting much of the fan draw to the new spinoff will have something to do with a certain leather-clad, foul-mouthed antihero. It’s worth checking out Dead City just to check in on Negan Smith, who it appears will have a far different arc from his comics counterpart (in the source material, neither of these characters made a post-apocalyptic trip to New York).

Maggie’s constant hatred of Negan did grow tiring during the first segment of Season 11, and plenty of viewers were relieved when the series finale showed them reaching a place of not-quite forgiveness, but acceptance. We’re hoping Dead City doesn’t regress the duo all the way back to square one; yes, there’s an ocean’s worth of water under that bridge, but it shouldn’t mean Maggie and Negan spend six whole episodes fighting and despising each other. Their relationship is one of the Walking Dead Universe’s most compelling and multilayered… when it’s allowed to have layers beyond anger and hurt and attempted murder. Clearly, Maggie needs Negan—and while she’ll never forget what he did, we hope she’ll be able to work alongside him without constantly holding a knife to his throat.

Trey Santiago-Hudson, Lauren Cohan, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in 'The Walking Dead: Dead City'

Peter Kramer/AMC

The Setting

If you’re not considering tuning in for Negan and Maggie, the promise of seeing a broken-down New York City might get you to pick up the remote. For the most part, the Walking Dead shows have stuck to stretches of woods and suburban settlements; we briefly saw Atlanta and Los Angeles at certain points throughout the various series, but not to the extent that Dead City promises to explore the shriveled remains of the Big Apple.

With a city of that size and a likely massive walker population, how have survivors managed to stick around this long? Will we catch a glimpse of any of New York’s iconic landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty or Times Square? What does survival look like in a setting filled with stores, skyscrapers and fire escapes? If nothing else, Dead City has earned points for doing something different, and getting its characters away from railroad tracks, rusty gates and filtered-sunlight forests.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan in 'The Walking Dead: Dead City'

Peter Kramer/AMC

Evolving Walkers

Granted, we’re not sure how large of a focus the evolving dead are going to be in the six-episode first season; the central plot, it seems, will revolve around Maggie’s quest to save her son from someone who has unpleasant history with Negan. That said, there’s a quick shot in the trailer of what appears to be a fast walker. From World Beyond’s post-credits scene, we know that walkers in some areas of the world have the capability to move quickly and exhibit door-denting levels of strength; from the final season of the main show, we know that some walkers have maintained a degree of reasoning and problem-solving abilities. Since New York City has been cut off from the mainland since the start of the outbreak, one can’t help but wonder how that isolated group of dead might act differently from the walkers we’re used to seeing in these shows. Are there smart walkers in New York? Fast walkers? Strong walkers? If the trailer was any indication, Maggie and Negan should expect the unexpected—both from the dead, and from each other.

The Walking Dead: Dead City, Series Premiere, Wednesday, June 14, 9/8c, AMC