WonderCon 2023: ‘The Walking Dead: Dead City’ Explores The Unprocessed Trauma And Loss Of Maggie And Negan
by Gary Catig
The Walking Dead Universe is expanding with several spin-offs lined up including one that is centered on Daryl Dixon in Europe and another that catches up with Rick and Michonne. Though the one we can catch first is The Walking Dead: Dead City. WonderCon 2023 hosted a panel on the series providing fans first looks and more details around the plot.
The first thing we learned is that the series premiere will be June 18th on AMC. A trailer was then played where we see that Herschel Rhee has been abducted and Maggie is on a quest to retrieve her son. She can’t do it alone so she forms an uneasy alliance with Negan because he’s the type of man that can accomplish the job. The one-time villain even mentions about paying for what he’s done.
After the first video, creator and executive producer Eli Jorné and stars Lauren Cohan and Gaius Charles came on stage. Unfortunately Jeffrey Dean Morgan couldn’t attend due to filming season four of The Boys. At least he sent a video greeting so he could be there in spirit.
Except for a short time in the first season of The Walking Dead, Dead City is the first series in the franchise to take place in a big metropolitan area. Manhattan is the home of 1.5 million walkers that are isolated on an island. Things evolved much differently than what we’ve seen so far, since most of the locations we’ve visited are out in isolated forest and suburban areas. You can expect to see many iconic NYC landmarks that are incorporated into the narrative but much more rundown. Because the landscape is different, people had to adapt in other ways. Jorné mentioned the use of ziplines from rooftop to rooftop. We’ll also see the difficulties of actually reaching that part of New York since there is no direct path above the ground.
The Walking Dead: Dead City will be the next chapter in the relationship between Maggie and Negan. It will explore their unprocessed trauma and loss from both sides. There will be a significant time jump because we find the pair already settled into their new and separate lives before Hershel is kidnapped.
Charles plays new character Perlie Armstrong. He is a marshal from New Babylon, a community that is trying to rebuild society following the zombie apocalypse. The actor described his onscreen persona as someone who is fanatical to law and order. Armstrong wants to bring justice to New Babylon and that puts him into conflict with Negan. As we dive into the character more throughout the season, we’ll see the psychological reasons from his past that shaped his outlook and philosophy.
Other new additions to the franchise include the Croat, played by Željko Ivanek. He is the main antagonist and the person who kidnaps Hershel. Speaking of which, Hershel is played by actor Logan Kim, someone different from the main series. This is due to the time jump so Glen and Maggie’s son looks vaguely older. Another new face mentioned is Ginny, played by Mahina Napoleon.
Those in person for The Walking Dead: Dead City panel also were treated to an actual finished scene from the series. In it, Maggie, Negan, and new character Jano, played by Trey Santiago-Hudson, are navigating the streets of Manhattan at night. They must have made too much noise since walkers start making their way towards the trio. One noticeable difference in the city environment is that the buildings are filled with walkers to the point they begin falling from the sky. It’s definitely something unexpected. At the end of the clip we see a small girl spying on the group building even more intrigue.
If the shown clip is any indication, The Walking Dead: Dead City is providing something new that we haven seen in the other series so far as well as building upon characters we already love. Don’t miss the series premiere June 18 on AMC.