As the next spin-off of The Walking Dead to hit AMC, The Walking Dead: Dead City is taking a new approach to the new world order. Set in New York City, it follows the unexpected team up of Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in a more intimate, though still action-packed story.
"We're meeting them again a few years on. We get to explore just these notions of forgiveness and getting on with your life and really facing your own demons," Cohan, who also serves as executive producer on this new series, said during a Television Critics Association press tour panel for the series.
Maggie and Negan are traveling through the dilapidated city to find her son. While he claims she needs his help or her son will end up dead, she suspects he needs just as much from her, especially because he claims his being a wanted man has been blown a bit out of proportion. But while they need each other, "whether they trust each other is secondary...and a lot of the drama comes from that," chief content officer of The Walking Dead universe and series executive producer Scott M. Gimple said.
The show, therefore, he continued, is about the "conflicts between us" and how some things cannot even be reconciled.
Although there have been other Walking Dead spin-offs before this one, including the first (Fear the Walking Dead), which will premiere its eighth and final season this spring, just ahead of the premiere of this new spin-off, showrunner Eli Jorné pointed out that there is still new territory to explore in this universe because "we haven't seen how people are able to survive in a city."
This new show offers that opportunity, but it's not the only difference.
"One of the biggest things that's just structural right off the bat is that Walking Dead — and I love this about Walking Dead — was an ensemble show. It was a cast of thousands," Gimple said. "This show is very focused on Maggie and Negan and then a few other characters we're bringing in. There aren't a ton of other characters, but we get to tell their stories deeply."
One of those new characters is Perlie Armstrong, played by Gaius Charles, who Gimple described as someone who, "in some ways, stumbled out of a different genre and yet has his very, very different inner conflicts really crossing with these other characters to tell a very rich story. Because again, there's only a few of them and they all affect one another and they all bounce off one another."
Armstrong is a Marshal and "clings to law and order as a way to make sense of this apocalypse we're living in," Charles explained. What Armstrong knows about Negan is his violent side, but "the journey of my character [is] really needing him and learning who he is."
The show was designed for the viewers to have a similar experience. Jorné said that even if you have skipped the previous incarnations of this adaptation, you can jump into this series (and all of the other forthcoming spin-offs) without feeling lost. The fans who know the backstory may get a richer experience, but it is the job of the new show to set up the relationship (and tension) between Maggie and Negan so that you can come in cold and still "feel it."
The Walking Dead: Dead City premieres in June on AMC.