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The Walking Dead universe expands on June 18th, 2023 with the franchise moving to none other than the Big Apple in The Walking Dead: Dead City. The series sees the return of The Walking Dead stars Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Maggie and Negan respectively.

Dead City also welcomes a fresh supporting cast, including Gaius Charles( Armstrong), Mahina Anne Marie Napoleon (Ginny), Jonathan Higginbotham (Tommaso), Karina Ortiz (Amaia), and Zelko Ivanek (The Croat). The six-episode first season was originally announced by AMC on March 7th, 2022 under the name Isle of the Dead, which then eventually changed to The Walking Dead: Dead City. Continue on to learn what you might expect from the new series in AMC’s long-running franchise.

[Warning: Light Spoilers and Impressions of AMC’s The Walking Dead: Dead City are below!]

Threads leading into The Walking Dead: Dead City

The Walking Dead ended on November 20th, 2022, closing out all remaining storylines from its eleven-season run, including the rivalry between Maggie and Negan. The long-standing feud between the two characters stems from the controversial murder of Maggie’s husband Glenn Rhee by Negan in the season seven premiere of The Walking Dead.

Season eleven spent the majority of its twenty-four-episode run on the semi-reconciliation between Maggie and Negan. The final episode provided a sort of finality to this feud, which left some fans confused by a continuation of the storyline between the two.

The Walking Dead: Dead City
Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan as Negan Smith and Maggie Rhee. The Walking Dead: Dead City (AMC).

The show first opens with a lack of exposition as to what exactly is going on, which may leave the audience a bit confused. What can be said is it is important to check out the trailer for Dead City before watching the first episode.

The trailer reveals that Maggie Rhee is in search of her child, Herschel, after a man by the name of “The Croat” has taken him hostage. Maggie gets Negan to tag along to New York City due to Negan knowing The Croat as well. Those are the two most crucial pieces of information to know and remember before going into this show. 

Relationships are front and center in this AMC series

The main aspect of The Walking Dead: Dead City is the continually evolving relationship between Maggie and Negan. While New York City is a big draw, the clear focus is on why Maggie and Negan are teaming up. Throughout the season, the relationship continues to evolve with some key moments of growth between the two characters during their interactions. Whether fans feel there was enough development between the two this season remains to be seen.

The character growth of both Maggie and Negan as characters are equally as present when they are separated and spending time with supporting characters. While this show is certainly about the continued relationship and arcs for Maggie and Negan, the supporting cast is used to bring different levels of development for each of the two main characters. 

Supporting characters and locations in The Walking Dead: Dead City

Speaking of the supporting cast, a standout character is Gaius Charles’ Armstrong. Armstrong is introduced as a sort of pseudo-antagonist, but we come to learn there is much more to this character than we first know. The character’s writing mixed with a solid performance from Gaius Charles makes Armstrong a clear standout character for the season.

The other main supporting members are Ginny, Tommaso, and Amaia. Ginny is a sort of Judith Grimes-type character, someone that Negan is watching after for reasons that are to be revealed. Ginny as a character is hard to judge considering her character is written to not speak at all. Seeing Negan in that paternal role again that he took on in the later seasons of The Walking Dead was heartwarming.

Tommaso and Amaia are post-apocalyptic New York City natives who Negan and Maggie encounter. Tommaso and Amaia’s reasoning for joining Maggie and Negan in their New York City excursion becomes a major plot point in the season.  

The Walking Dead: Dead City- Armstrong
Gaius Charles as Armstrong. The Walking Dead: Dead City (AMC).

The final supporting cast member to mention is the big bad of this season, The Croat, played by Zeljko Ivanek. The Dead City trailer reveals that Negan and The Croat have a history together, beyond that there is more to be revealed in the show regarding his background.

Zeljko Ivanek gives an interesting performance when it comes to being a Walking Dead villain. In the past, we have obviously seen major villains like Shane, The Governor, Negan, and The Whisperers. While The Croat is a bit like some of the past villains we have seen, the character brings some fresh Joker-esque mannerisms and behaviors. While the trailer reveals The Croat kidnapped Herschel, the reasoning behind that is a mystery that is slowly revealed. 

Placing this specific story in New York City adds a bit of flair or pizzazz that makes aspects of this season intriguing. At times, it feels the show does not always take advantage of being in Manhattan, but the times when major beats in the story take place in skyscrapers or famous landmarks the show is at its peak.

While we get a brief look at Madison Square Garden in the trailer, there are a few other infamous NYC locations that are utilized in the series. MSG ends up being the most utilized location in this show where major events unfold. Other locations like Penn Station and The Statue of Liberty are seen as well. 

Overall, how this story will land with longtime The Walking Dead fans remains to be seen. There is a lot to like about this story. Negan is his classic self while Maggie continues to kick butt. What can be said is that picking up on a new story that feels like more of the same, only eight months after closing out a multi-season arc between Maggie and Negan, may not land with some longtime fans.

Other than that this show is a ton of fun, has some good twists that serve the plot, and utilizes the dynamic of walkers in New York City in some truly hilarious ways. Bringing the show to New York City has opened up a massive amount of doors for the continued expansion of The Walking Dead universe.

The Walking Dead: Dead City arrives on June 18th, on AMC. Will you be watching? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus Discord.

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Drew Reed

Hey I'm Drew Reed, Staff Writer here at The Cosmic Circus. I love Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, The Lord of The Rings and many more fantasy and sci-fi universes. You can find me on twitter @ DrewReed1099

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