More, Fans Need a Lot More!
What do we need in the upcoming spinoff of The Walking Dead Universe, The Walking Dead: Dead City? There’s a lot so let’s break it down.
The Walking Dead officially ended its flagship series in November 2022 with an episode entitled “Rest in Peace.” Although fans bid farewell to a large core of survivors, it was far from curtains. There was yet more story to tell. After all, although an apocalypse signifies the end of something, it marks the beginning of something else. There is always a new normal after a catastrophe, even one of world-ending proportions. So the end of one saga only preludes to the start of another. Negan and Maggie will be the first to carry the story into new terrain. Their destination? Manhattan.
The Walking Dead: Dead City will premiere in the summer of 2023 for a six-episode run. Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are the character guides, and there is a time jump. And now the two are on their way to the big city. Unfortunately, the “Big Apple” has rotted a bit since the start of the apocalypse.
As the synopsis notes, some sinister developments are occurring on Manhattan Island. Surprising? Of course not; things happen a little differently on islands. Islands indicate isolation. And an apocalypse brought on by the undead only lends to greater isolation. Roving life suckers equate to mass destruction. Symbols of advancing decay include broken road systems, blocked passageways, highways, and routes. Let’s not forget hallowed out grocery stores long since ravaged.
Given the dynamics of the new world and all that Negan and Maggie have faced, it would seem they would stay put. And that makes one wonder what could lead the two to risk it and go forth together. According to the plot synopsis, Negan and Maggie find common ground to fulfill a mission. However, the partnership does not indicate the dissolution of old tensions. AMC defines their relationship as tenuous, meaning they have a long road to travel to become bosom buddies; another piece of the plot.
There will be foes, as there should be. The first big nasty for this series is a guy defined as “a Marshall with a troubled past.” But it seems the Marshall isn’t the only one the two have to worry about. The conditions under which they wage their campaign will be different. That begins with meeting a new segment of survivors in the New York populace. And that means a whole new brand of hospitality. New Yorkers do things a lot differently. Per the synopsis, it appears Negan and Maggie are on a bounty-hunting mission, and the target is identified to be “a notorious killer.” So one thing fans can be sure to prepare for is lots of drama. And as the synopsis additionally notes, things are likely to spiral. The synopsis reads, “The traumas of their [Negan and Maggie’s] past may prove just as big a threat as what they face.”
Knowledge goes a long way to stoke some interest. But what is needed to keep viewers invested is altogether different. So given what we know, here is what we need in a spinoff.
Action is paramount. We want to be moved. And that means material that invokes a range of emotions. Fans want to feel fear, anger, joy, disappointment, anticipation, and shock. While some drama is understandable, an imbalance takes away from the story. And viewers had quite a heavy dose of drama with a splattering of action-packed sequences in the last few seasons of The Walking Dead. One could adequately define the previous few seasons as incredibly tame and predictable, especially for a world facing a deadly infestation. And that leads to our next desire.
Zombies – Creature Evolvement
This is The Walking Dead. And based on what is known, Dead City is overrun with zombies. So viewers want zombies, episode by episode full of zombies. And the regular simply will not do. Variability is key. The living versions of our walker counterparts vastly differ, so why shouldn’t zombies? There should be various classifications. A starting point for introducing such would be to explore further the climbing zombies introduced at the end of The Walking Dead.
A Solid Storyline
We understand the gist of the story that is being told. However, it is pertinent that the storyline remains solid. This spinoff still takes place in The Walking Dead Universe. The rules have been set, and the foundation laid. We know the virus is airborne. This discovery is made in season one as the survivors make their way to the CDC. As Slashfilm notes, “The characters initially assumed the virus is transmitted through a zombie biting someone, but it turns out it is airborne.” The core’s endless exploits have already proven there are more than a few pockets of survivors, some highly organized. The landscape is solidified. In the original, there were deserted storefronts, limited supplies, etc… So it is only necessary that too much hasn’t shifted, especially since New York is not on another continent. So we expect the same degradation to an extent, if not more.
The Walking Dead: Dead City will Die Without an Evolving Story
That means no rehashed materials. A different approach, a different caliber of enemy, an alteration in purpose. There should be some type of evolution. The flagship fell off due to the rote formula so the same mustn’t be replicated.
Everyone understands this is a new series. And that should mean stepping into new territories figuratively and literally. But The Walking Dead: Dead City is also a spinoff so we need the elements to coincide. There should be a well-constructed bridge between The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: Dead City. A few things need to be explained to ensure this properly. Fans need to know the whereabouts of Negan’s pregnant girlfriend. Where is little Herschel? And most importantly, do the primary characters still have connections to the group they left behind? Are cameos a possibility?
Consistency in Character Characterization
A time jump is understandable, however that shouldn’t cause a total shift in Negan and Maggie’s characters. They should continue to act in line with what has been established. And if there is a transformation, it should be logical. The watcher needs to be able to see the evolvement or it must be thoroughly explained to ensure plausibility.
Expectations are full. Without a doubt, there is a particular curiosity, a need to see where a new story would go. Quite a few still ponder the need for a new story. And even more importantly, will this new account do what Fear the Walking Dead and The World Beyond could not? Could The Walking Dead: Dead City reinvigorate the masses? Could it restore the franchise to its former glory? Or has the franchise already plummeted over the cliff? There is a lot of pressure, for sure. But, unfortunately, in this case, we not only need more, but we expect more.
So for those eager to see if The Walking Dead: Dead City lives up to expectations, tune in to AMC June 2023.
The Walking Dead: Dead City (2023) Teaser Trailer