AMC first announced back in September of 2020 that The Walking Dead would conclude at the end of a supersized season 11 in the fall of 2022. But there was a silver lining to that cloud in that it was also revealed that the two characters that had been on the show since season 1 would be continuing their journey. Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride were to star in a Daryl and Carol spin-off that would pick up with their on-screen alter egos for a new journey after the mothership was finally grounded.
"Of course, I've always enjoyed working so closely with Norman throughout these many seasons," said McBride in a statement at the time. "In playing Carol, and as a viewer of the show, I've also long been intrigued with 'Daryl and Carol,' and by what so early on between them, even then, felt somehow bound. Their shared history is long, and each's own personal fight to survive, even longer — the more obvious aspect of what has kept them close and loyal. But there is also a rather mysterious aspect to their fondness for one another that I enjoy, and their playfulness when the world permits. I'm very curious! [Showrunner Angela Kang] has a way of shaking things up in great and unexpected ways. She's like a kid playing with the dimmer switch! I'm very excited!"
Jace Downs/AMC Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride on 'The Walking Dead'
Fans were equally excited. But then the news broke this April that McBride was no longer part of the show, and that it would instead focus just on Reedus' Daryl Dixon.
"Melissa McBride has given life to one of the most interesting, real, human and popular characters in The Walking Dead Universe," an AMC statement read. "Unfortunately, she is no longer able to participate in the previously announced spin-off focused on the Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier characters, which will be set and filmed in Europe this summer and premiere next year. Relocating to Europe became logistically untenable for Melissa at this time. We know fans will be disappointed by this news, but The Walking Dead Universe continues to grow and expand in interesting ways and we very much hope to see Carol again in the near future."
Well, it would now appear that McBride would like to see Carol again in the near future as well. EW spoke to the actress as part of our upcoming Walking Dead Fall TV Preview cover story, and when asked about the possibility of more Peletier, a sly smile crosses McBride's face. "I feel like Carol has more story to tell," she responds before pausing. "I'll leave it at that." Another pause. "I think she's got some more story." Another sly grin.
Josh Stringer/AMC Melissa McBride on 'The Walking Dead'
With AMC handing out spin-offs to pretty much anyone ever associated with the show (See: Maggie and Negan taking New York in Dead City, Rick and Michonne returning for an "epic and insane love story", and even Samantha Morton's very much deceased Alpha showing up again in Tales of the Walking Dead), it's not surprising that there would also be something in the works for one of the most beloved characters in the franchise canon. But the question is, what?
If Reedus is to be believed, even if they are not sharing a screen right off the bat, the Daryl and Carol story is far from complete. "Their journey's not over," Reedus tells EW. "They will meet down the road. You can pretty much bet all your money. I read all these people whining about it, and I have to just keep my mouth shut, but there will be a lot of foots in a lot of mouths at some point."
If McBride is hinting that Carol will be back, and Reedus is flat-out promising it, what does Walking Dead chief content officer Scott M. Gimple have to say about all of this? "I mean, they both put it right," says Gimple. "There's just more story to tell. And I love both characters so much that we will be telling stories with each of them moving forward. And who knows beyond that? But I've never stopped talking to Melissa about this. I'm thrilled at the idea of it and I'm very optimistic for the future of telling some cool Carol stories."
Exactly when and where those stories happen remains to be seen, but it appears Carol has not baked her last batch of cookies after all.
For more scoop on the franchise, keep an eye out for The Walking Dead gracing the cover of EW's Fall TV Preview package, coming this Thursday, Sept. 8.
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