The Walking Dead star Lauren Cohan reveals Maggies spin-off didnt always include Negan

While The Walking Dead is set to conclude later this year, the stories of Maggie Rhee and Negan Smith will live on in one of the show’s upcoming spin-offs. But that wasn’t always going to be the case. 

In a recent interview with ComicBook (opens in new tab), Lauren Cohan – who has played Maggie since her introduction in season 2 back in 2011 – revealed that plans for the character’s Manhattan-based spin-off didn’t always include Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and that the idea only came about while the cast and crew were filming the flagship series’ final episodes.

“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,” she explained. “I think this story that [writer-producer] 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.”

The Walking Dead’s 11th and final season is a supersized one, and at 24 episodes, has been split into three parts. The first aired between August 2021 and October, while the second premiered in February and wrapped up just a few days ago. 

In the action-packed episode, which saw Maggie, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and the gang face off against the Commonwealth’s Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton) and Daryl’s vengeful ex Leah (Lynn Collins), Maggie admitted that she’s starting to trust Negan after he saved her son, Hershel. She also said that she’ll never forget that he murdered her husband Glenn (Steven Yeun).

Negan in The Walking Dead

(Image credit: AMC)

Cohan went on to say that that scene inspired the idea behind Isle of the Dead, and highlighted how it evolves the tension between Maggie and Negan – moving them both beyond a place where their main concern is that they might get killed by the other.

“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,” she 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,” said Cohan. “And whatever feels the most enticing and what we think the fans will be most excited about is what won the day.”

The Walking Dead season 11c will premiere in fall 2022. For now, no official release date for Isle of the Dead has been announced. We do know, though, that it will come out sometime in 2023, and that filming is scheduled to begin in New York in July of this year. It will air on AMC and AMC Plus.

If you’re all up to date on The Walking Dead, and aren’t sure what to binge-watch next, then use our list of the best TV shows of all time for some inspiration. (Spoiler: we ranked The Walking Dead at #80).

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