With just eight episodes left to air in The Walking Dead's flagship run, this final hiatus has a lot of fans looking ahead to where the franchise will go next with these familiar characters. After the still-airing Fear the Walking Dead and the limited World Beyond spinoff, the next big TWD spinoff was long ago revealed to be an on-the-road buddy drama focusing on two of the show's fan-favorite characters, Norman Reedus' Daryl and Melissa McBride's Carol. Those plans have now changed, however, as it appears McBride is no longer involved with the project. Feels like a perfect time for Daryl to drop another F-bomb.
To be co-created by current Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang and the franchise's CCO Scott Gimple, the Daryl and Carol spinoff was an easy-to-understand option for a spinoff starring legacy characters, considering they're the only two survivors that have been there since the earliest days. But it looks like plans have changed, as TVLine reports that Carol was excised from the spinoff as a creative decision through and through.
That element implies there wasn't any bad blood between Melissa McBride and the network or show producers. But without the star or others commenting publicly on the matter, it's hard to know exactly what happened behind the scenes that set up this shocking turn of events.
For those worried that the project might be canned altogether, quell the fears, because the spinoff is reportedly still going forward, but with Norman Reedus' consistently filthy survivor set to lead the new project all by his lonesome. Considering how everything went down in Season 11's finale, we can't very well expect him to take his one-time lover Leah out on the road with him, either.
As far as behind-the-scenes shocks go for The Walking Dead franchise, the Daryl and Carol spinoff losing its Carol aspect is as major as it gets. Nothing will beat Andrew Lincoln's mystery-bound exit as Rick Grimes on that front, but it's legitimately hard to envision this franchise's future without Melissa McBride involved. By all means, TWD's Carol-based narratives are fairly cyclical after so many seasons, but the actress' skills are the biggest reasons why the character has remained so beloved over the years.
Of course, that beloved nature had a LOT to do with Carol's romance-adjacent friendship with Daryl, with their outsider personalities meshing perfectly in a variety of ways, even when they're butting heads. As such, it was celebrated (both by fans and the actors themselves) once AMC revealed the spinoff's imminent existence in the same breath used to announce The Walking Dead ending with Season 11.
Assuming the Daryl spinoff goes forward as it, the project will be one of three currently announced spinoffs that will expand the Walking Dead franchise into 2023 and beyond. Fans can also look forward to Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan teaming up for the NYC-bound Isle of the Dead, while the anthology project Tales of the Walking Dead will focus on a variety of different stories within the post-apocalyptic universe. Maybe we'll see Carol's return in one of those stories.
There are currently no publicly known plans for when the Daryl-centered spinoff will go into production, but The Walking Dead proper is set to return to AMC for the final eight episodes later in 2022, with an exact premiere date yet to be revealed. Head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what else is confirmed to be premiering in the coming months.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.