The Walking Dead: Dead City Ending Explained: What’s Next for Negan & Maggie?

The Walking Dead: Dead City season 1 has ended, and the finale has left enormous implications for the entire AMC franchise moving forward. 

The final episode wastes little time flirting with Ginny and Perlie’s story before sending Jeffery Dean Morgan’s Negan and Lauren Cohan’s Maggie on the last leg of their New York journey.

It takes Negan no time to understand that Maggie has been duping him all along, but he fails to avoid being bartered in exchange for Hershel’s release.

The Walking Dead: Dead City season 1’s finale perfectly sets up the next chapter through a series of events. Firstly, Perlie’s homecoming gives us a glimpse of the mysterious new community called the New Babylon Federation. Moreover, Maggie has a newfound purpose after realizing that her parenting skills need something to be desired, and Dama finally reveals her reason for wanting Negan captured in the first place.

The finale ends with both Negan and Maggie starting new phases of their post-apocalyptic lives, and their return will be even grander in season 2.

1. What does The Dama Want with Negan?

The entire premise of Walking Dead: The Dead City revolves around the Croats wanting Negan for some nefarious reason, and episode 5 reveals that the show’s true villain is Dama.

However, her obsession with Negan is only explained in the finale- albeit in a very subtle tone. 

The Dama foresees a war between her Manhattan group and the New Babylon Federation as they are bound to come for the Dama’s methane supply for powering their zombies. This leaves the Dama unsettled and frustrated.

The Dama also realize that they will be outnumbered, and uniting the various factions of Manhattan is their only chance of survival. That job requires someone with the ruthlessness and schematic prowess like Negan Smith.

The show never explicitly mentions whether Negan relishes returning to his former self. On the one hand, Negan’s character has gone through this beautiful transformation; on the other, everyone he cares for is dead.

It is imperative that Negan cooperates with the Dama because the Dama plays with his emotions very tactfully. 

Having realized that Negan still regrets Glenn’s death, the Dama heavily implies that she will kill Maggie’s son unless her demands are fulfilled, creating a bait for Negan to join her. 

Walking Dead: Dead City season 2 promises the return of the full-fledged villainous version of Negan, sporting his iconic leather jacket. He will probably try to turn Manhattan into a larger and better version of the Sanctuary and square off against the New Babylon Federation. 

However, the main threat in The Walking Dead: Dead City season 2 will again be the Dama, who holds Hershel’s life – or rather, his feet – in her hands, and that will cripple more than one person in season 22!

2. Did Negan Really Kill Ginny’s Father?

A sweet reunion turns bitter when Negan shocks Ginny by revealing he killed her dad in New Babylon and claimed he only looked after her to repay the massive debt of making her fatherless. 

The finale does little to convince us that Negan is telling the complete truth. However, we think he actually killed Ginny’s dad, which would explain why he adopted a surrogate girl after leaving his own family. 

He also tries to make amends with Alexandria by being nice to Judith – maybe he thinks kids are his path to salvation. However, Negan probably lies about not caring for Ginny. We think he wants Ginny to hate him and leave New York with Perlie so that she would be safe from the Croats. 

Negan would rather have Ginny despise him and live happily in Maggie’s place than love him and die in the war. This is because Negan has really grown to love Ginny like his own daughter and is committed to securing her future in the best way possible.

Regardless of its integrity, Negan’s plan proves effective. The finale subtly suggests that Ginny has shifted her allegiance from Negan to Maggie and seeks to permanently move into the new Hilltop society.

First, she declines to reclaim her old shirt that Perlie got from his vehicle. This is the same shirt that Negan draped over a slumbering Ginny in the first episode of The Walking Dead: Dead City. 

Second, Ginny becomes anxious about Negan during her initial stay with Maggie’s group, but the final scenes depict her sleeping soundly. Both indicate Ginny’s altered perspective on Negan.

3. How Negan Figures Out Maggie Was Lying (& when)

The Walking Dead: Dead City Ending Explained: What’s Next for Negan & Maggie?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan in The Walking Dead: Dead City (2023) | Source: IMDb

Maggie’s deception has been evident ever since the second installment of Dead City, where Ginny enjoys a soft piece of bread, thereby exposing Maggie’s fabrication about the Croat stealing her grain. 

Negan, however, remains oblivious until the sixth chapter of the show, when he finally discerns the truth. We don’t know what tips him off, but he starts harboring doubts when he discovers that Maggie followed them to New York. 

The conclusive evidence of Maggie’s deceit is revealed when Negan realizes his partner has been aware of the Croat’s location from the very outset of their journey. 

In the first episode of The Walking Dead: Dead City, Maggie informs Negan that she is suspicious of a building emitting smoke twice a day and thinks that the Croats reside there. After the Croats head straight to that building in episode 6, Negan becomes more certain Maggie hasn’t been sincere. Finally, Maggie’s abysmal poker face gives her away for good!

4. Will Maggie Rescue Or Kill Negan In Walking Dead: Dead City Season 2?

The Walking Dead: Dead City Ending Explained: What’s Next for Negan & Maggie?
Lauren Cohan in The Walking Dead: Dead City | Source: IMDb

The finale shows Maggie’s gradual awakening to the fact that her obsession with avenging Negan has consumed her life and is harming her son. 

In the closing scene of “Doma Smo,” Maggie has a moment of clarity and declares, “I don’t know how, but this thing with Negan… I’m gonna finish it. So that I can just let it go.” This statement could have two meanings: either Maggie intends to save Negan in season 2 or kill him once and for all.

If Maggie finally understands that pursuing vengeance against Glenn’s murderer for ten years was a mistake, it makes sense that she now wants to reverse that vengeance. This will require her to return to Manhattan and rescue her enemy from the Dama’s grip, presumably hoping to reunite Negan with Annie and their child. 

However, “finish it” could also imply that Maggie aims to end her conflict with Negan by killing him in season 2, eliminating the source of her unhealthy obsession because she can never move on while he still lives.

5. What Happens To Hershel While He is Captured

The Walking Dead: Dead City Ending Explained: What’s Next for Negan & Maggie?
Lisa Emery in The Walking Dead: Dead City (2023) | Source: IMDb

The Walking Dead has already shown flashbacks of Maggie’s son being rebellious before he is taken hostage, and this behavior has origins in Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comics, where adult Hershel is utterly despicable.

Nevertheless, the troubled teenager is astonishingly unappreciative of his mother’s efforts to cross Manhattan, face mortal danger, sacrifice many other survivors, and wade through walker-filled sewers to save him.

Hershel might just be going through a severe phase of hormonal instability, but there could be a darker explanation, with Glenn’s son possibly turning his back on his own mother.

Once he returns to his mother’s truck, Hershel claims shockingly, “I felt more secure there [with the Dama].” Maggie then finds Hershel’s remarkably flattering sketch of the Dama, who herself confesses Hershel “felt safe” as her captive. Having already been unhappy with his mother’s parenting style, Hershel might have been brainwashed by the Dama – even though she ordered one of his toes to be cut off. 

Whether Hershel would betray his mother in The Walking Dead: Dead City season 2 remains to be seen, but his hatred toward Maggie is far from over.

6. Perlie Sets Up A New Walking Dead Villain

Throughout the first season of The Walking Dead: Dead City, the enigmatic New Babylon Federation looms in the background but only reveals itself in the final episode when Marshal Perlie Armstrong returns to his home base. Interestingly, Perlie deceives his superiors in New Babylon and reports that he has no choice but to execute Negan after tracking him down in Manhattan. 

Perlie’s deception stems from his desire to keep his status as a marshal. Having formed a connection with Negan during their adventures in New York and learned the reasons behind Negan’s misdeeds, Perlie chooses not to carry out the Federation’s verdict.

By explicitly stating that Negan is deceased, Perlie also guarantees that all bounties and hunts will be terminated, allowing Negan to regain his freedom and paving the way for a reunion with Annie and Joshua. 

However, Perlie’s lies subtly expose a crucial secret about New Babylon. The lie verifies that Perlie does not believe his community to be compassionate, reasonable, and impartial, and this relates to the Federation’s public executions, assorted killings, and trailless sentences witnessed throughout The Walking Dead: Dead City so far.

Perlie’s tense relationship with the New Babylon Federation’s authority introduces this large new community as another evil force in The Walking Dead’s world, joining the CRM as a potential danger to the primary survivors in Alexandria and the Commonwealth. 

Either way, Perlie seems likely to accompany Maggie back to Manhattan for The Walking Dead: Dead City season 2, this time attempting to bring the Croat’s methane back to his untrustworthy superiors.

Watch The Walking Dead: Dead City on:

7. About The Walking Dead: Dead City

The Walking Dead: Dead City is an upcoming television series in The Walking Dead’s TV universe. Eli Jorné will serve as showrunner, who co-created the series along with Scott Gimple. AMC announced the spinoff in March 2022.

The spinoff will follow Maggie and Negan’s adventures through New York City as they look for Maggie’s lost son, Hershel. 

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan will reprise their roles as Negan and Maggie, respectively, along with new and old cast members. The series will premiere on June 18, 2023. 


Leave a Reply