Jeffrey Dean Morgan Slammed 'Toxic' Walking Dead Fans For Trolling Norman Reedus Over Melissa McBride Leaving Spinoff

Negan in abandoned house on The Walking Dead
(Image credit: AMC)

The future is already set in gore-splattered stone for The Walking Dead on AMC, with the final eight episodes dropping later this year, and thus the franchise’s future is now taking up more of the spotlight. Of the various spinoffs in development, the biggest no-brainer was the Daryl and Carol offshoot that was announced back in 2020, but things took an unexpected turn when star Melissa McBride dropped out of the project. Fans have shared all manner of reactions to that news, with some outright blaming Norman Reedus for how things played out, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan had some strong words for anyone taking part in such “toxic” behavior. 

No stranger to being candid on social media, Jeffrey Dean Morgan took to Twitter in the early morning hours with a pointed condemnation of Walking Dead fans who were quick to rail on Norman Reedus over the Daryl and Carol spinoff’s setback, despite him not being actively involved. Here’s how Morgan put it, presumably while adjusting his leather jacket and cracking his knuckles.  

Some of you have gone WAY too far. TOXIC. Attacking norm for crap he has NOTHING to do with? Melissa made a call that was hers alone. She wants/needs a break. Respect that. Factors involved that are nobody’s business. Norm, who’s given more than anyone to you all. Just SHITTY.

Fans are definitely known for taking things too far on social media, regardless of what the context is, so it’s perhaps not entirely surprising that a swath of viewers would instinctively choose to rain blame down on Norman Reedus for Melissa McBride bowing out of their Walking Dead offshoot. For anyone who doesn’t actually look into the matter with fact-checking in mind, it may have seemed wonky that Reedus’ Daryl Dixon was given solo star status in the spinoff as soon as McBride’s exit was announced. But correlation is not causation, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is not here for shitty people sharing shitty opinions. 

Daryl in the woods on The Walking Dead

(Image credit: AMC)

While it’s absolutely possible that there is more happening with this situation than meets the eye, AMC followed up on the initial news with a statement saying the spinoff’s European filming schedule “became logistically untenable” for Melissa McBride to currently handle. It’s unclear why the overseas production is untenable, whether it’s due to personal or professional reasons, but that’s not even the point. 

Regardless of what the deal is, it was presumably McBride’s call, and as Jeffrey Dean Morgan noted, that should be respected by any and all fans. Even if someone doesn’t fully believe that to be the case, that doesn’t at all justify aiming one’s negative and hateful views onto Norman Reedus just for being the only other star involved. Ironically, those people will probably end up being the ones who stump for the spinoff the hardest whenever it actually gets here. Fandom is a complicated mess.

While Jeffrey Dean Morgan is clearly unhappy with the aftermath of McBride’s exit from that particular spinoff, his own upcoming follow-up Isle of the Dead unveiled its first new-to-the-franchise cast addition. Morgan and co-star Lauren Cohan will be joined by Grey’s Anatomy and Friday Night Lights vet Gaius Charles will be joining the NYC-set fun as a menacing family man named Izaak. Could Melissa McBride somehow factor into that spinoff now, presumably its production details are more agreeable for the actress? Or is she just completely done with the franchise altogether? 

Only the future can reveal such things, and speaking of the future, The Walking Dead will return to AMC with its final eight episodes later in 2022. In the meantime, the flagship’s first spinoff Fear the Walking Dead is playing out the back half of Season 7, with episodes airing every Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. While waiting for the next one, relive all of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s biggest and best moments as Negan.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.