How The Walking Dead Ending Changed the Daryl and Carol Spinoff


The imminent seismic shift for the decade-old television franchise won’t affect the basic premise of the Daryl and Carol spinoff, which will contrast from the main series by bearing a more serialized format, with the main duo on the road going town-to-town, meeting new people and dealing with new post-apocalyptic threats on a week-to-week basis; something that Reedus described earlier as a “monster-of-the-week” style, perhaps akin to the non-main-storyline episodes of The CW’s soon-to-conclude Supernatural. However, it does alter the spinoff’s original plans in a fundamental way, since Daryl and Carol were still supposed to put in occasional appearances for the Alexandria-set mothership series, which would have logistically limited how far across the contiguous United States (and possibly beyond,) the duo could explore on the spinoff. Indeed, barring some time-jumping shenanigans, the spinoff’s road trip premise would have necessitated careful coordination between shows for these (presumably semi-regular) appearances. After all, you can’t have D&C travel to Seattle (for example,) on the spinoff only for them to show up shortly afterwards on the Virginia-set main series, at least not without some serious apocalypse-adherent storyline setup.

Nevertheless, the spinoff will indeed have Daryl and Carol seeing where the road takes them for a unique serial experience, and it happens to be one that Reedus himself essentially envisioned alongside the showrunners. He explains of the spinoff conception, “Angela and I started talking about it during the episode [executive producer and effects maestro Greg Nicotero] directed with the snow,” referring to wintry Season 9 finale “The Storm,” which was filmed at the end of 2018. A few years later, Reedus’s idea ended up lining up with the showrunners, as he further explains, “Angela and Scott were kind of thinking the same thing on the side as well. They were talking about it, and then years later I got the call that we might be doing it and I was like, ‘Great!’”

Indeed, the spinoff will carry clear inspiration from Reedus’s real-life-interests-inspired vision, which has already notably taken shape on franchise home AMC with reality series Ride with Norman Reedus, on which the star takes a companion—often a celebrity or Walking Dead cast member—on an extended motorcycle trip for each episode. Pertinently, McBride herself fielded that companion role in a 2019 episode in which the duo rode across Scotland; an idea that further took shape on The Walking Dead’s Season 10 premiere, in which Daryl and Carol (in a potential foreshadowing moment,) toyed with the notion of jumping on a motorcycle and heading to New Mexico. Moreover, Reedus and McBride are apparently so hyped for this spinoff that they’ve put together Spotify playlists, which stand to become an inspirational soundtrack for the series.

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