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Two more of The Walking Dead’s beloved characters are getting their own spinoff.
AMC on Monday announced a six-episode series order for Isle of the Dead, a spinoff of the flagship series set to star Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan reprising their respective roles as Maggie and Negan.
Longtime TWD writer Eli Jorné will serve as showrunner on the drama via his overall deal with AMC Studios. The series will be overseen by TWD Universe content chief Scott M. Gimple and debut in 2023. Isle of the Dead will be set in Manhattan and follow Negan and Maggie exploring a postapocalyptic New York City. Cohan and Morgan will also serve as exec producers.
“This is a very big day for the expanding universe we are building around The Walking Dead,” said Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks. “It not only adds another compelling series to this collection, it extends our storytelling around two unforgettable characters fans have grown to love, hate or hate and then love in Maggie and Negan, brilliantly inhabited by Lauren and Jeffrey. It also lets us explore a corner of this universe located on the island of Manhattan, with an iconic skyline that takes on a very different meaning when viewed through the lens of a zombie apocalypse.”
All told, Isle of the Dead will be the fifth spinoff in the TWD universe. Beyond the mothership, AMC ordered episodic anthology Tales of the Walking Dead, which has already been casting ahead of its summer debut. There’s also Fear the Walking Dead (renewed for its seventh season), the already concluded limited series Walking Dead: World Beyond and the untitled Norman Reedus-Melissa McBride drama from flagship showrunner Angela Kang. The latter series will launch in 2023 — after The Walking Dead wraps its run in late 2022 following an expanded 24-episode 11th and final season on AMC. There’s also the long-gestating trio of Andrew Lincoln-led feature films following the events of Rick Grimes, the beloved character who was the star of both the TV series and comic book franchise.
“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,” said Gimple. “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.”
Cohan joined TWD in season two as a recurring, playing fan-favorite comic book character Maggie. Talks for a spinoff featuring the actress have been kicking around since early 2019, when she briefly parted ways with the franchise following a months-long contract renegotiation to star in ABC’s short-lived Whiskey Cavalier. She returned in a limited capacity for season nine before being upped back to series regular in season 10 following Whiskey’s cancellation and after reaching a new pact with AMC.
“I’m thrilled to partner with Dan McDermott and the team at AMC on the next chapter in The Walking Dead Universe,” Cohan said. “Maggie is very close to my heart and I’m excited to continue her journey against the iconic backdrop of New York City, alongside my friend and collaborator, Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Eli Jorné has created something incredibly special and I cannot wait for the fans to see what we have in store for Maggie and Negan.”
Morgan, meanwhile, first joined in the season five finale as comic book villain Negan, and he’s been a regular with the show since. “I’m delighted that Negan and Maggie’s journey continues,” he said. “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. Huge thank you to Dan McDermott, Scott Gimple and AMC for having us back for more… we simply can’t wait.”
Sources noted that rather than continuing the flagship series with Reedus (Daryl), McBride (Carol) — and now Cohan and Morgan — AMC will now have the option to sell international and streaming rights to both new series while also reducing the budget and licensing fees. Both international and streaming rights for the flagship are tied up with years-old deals with Fox International and Netflix, respectively.
Cohan is repped by CAA, John Carrabino Management and Hansen Jacobson. Morgan is with UTA and Goodman Genow.
Isle of the Dead joins an AMC scripted roster that includes the final seasons of Killing Eve, Kevin Can F**k Himself and Better Call Saul as well as Interview With the Vampire, Mayfair Witches, Gangs of London, 61st Street and Dark Winds, among others.
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