Maggie and Negan will return in their joint spinoff after The Walking Dead ends this year, but it wasn't always the plan to pair up Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. In March, AMC announced it had greenlit spinoff Isle of the Dead, launching with a six-episode first season seeing the archenemies traveling together into a post-apocalyptic Manhattan. Plans for separate Maggie and Negan spinoffs have been in development at AMC Networks since at least 2019, including talks of a Negan movie, but it wasn't until the final season of The Walking Dead forced Maggie and Negan to call truce that series writer-producer Eli Jorné pitched what would become Isle of the Dead.
"I know there have always been three, maybe four options for how Maggie would end up in a spinoff. For Maggie or Negan there's been a bunch of ideas floating around," Cohan told ComicBook in an exclusive postmortem for The Walking Dead's midseason finale. "I think this story that Eli Jorne came up with, which is what we'll be shooting for season one of Isle of the Dead, was just really powerful and such an interesting way for fans to get to see these characters continue."
In Part 2 of the final season, Maggie said she's starting to trust Negan for saving her son, Hershel Rhee (Kien Michael Spiller), but she hasn't forgotten what he did to her husband Glenn (Steven Yeun). The Maggie versus Negan rivalry will continue when they split off on a secret mission together in Isle of the Dead.
"I mean, Jeff and I are just over the moon because it completely serves who they are and where they will end up at the end of Season 11. It's somehow even more fraught than we've been in this season," Cohan teased. "So it's good for us because I feel like I got to find things of Maggie that I wanted to explore more, and this backdrop for Isle and in conflict with Negan is such a great opportunity to do it."
"So I think they had a lot of different ideas and then they sketched everything out," Cohan added of the initial idea for Isle of the Dead. "And whatever feels the most enticing and what we think the fans will be most excited about is what won the day."
Jorné is the showrunner on the spinoff series executive produced by TWD Universe chief content officer Scott Gimple. Filming is expected to begin this July in New York for a 2023 premiere on AMC and AMC+.
Per the description from AMC: "Isle of the Dead envisions the popular Maggie and Negan characters traveling into a post-apocalyptic Manhattan long ago cut off from the mainland. The crumbling city is filled with the dead and denizens who have made New York City their own world full of anarchy, danger, beauty, and terror."
The final eight episodes of The Walking Dead air this fall on AMC. Maggie and Negan spinoff Isle of the Dead premieres in 2023.