When The Walking Dead comes to an end this November, Daryl Dixon will head for international shores in his very own spinoff series. Not much is known about the currently-untitled project beyond a confirmation that it will take place in Europe.
Thanks to a juicy feature article from Entertainment Weekly feature, however, we are now aware of the fact that undead history will repeat itself as Mr. Dixon finds himself in a Rick Grimes-like situation: "He wakes up and finds himself somewhere on the European continent and tries to piece together what happened. How did he get here? How's he going to get home?" This sparse plot intel comes to us not from Norman Reedus, but from AMC Networks head honcho, Dan McDermott.
"We knew we wanted to make a show that went in the opposite direction, just because we didn't want to do the same thing," teased Reedus, who was supposed to share the spinoff with Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier) before the actress's sudden departure earlier this year. "And it's going to be way different. The story's way different. The characters are way different. There's a different tone, there's different light, there's a different sound. It's a whole different vibe. This is going to be f—ing epic."
With the actor now living in France for production, EW postulates that the show may somehow connect to the Season 2 finale of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, which not only brought back Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich) of the CDC, but also hinted at a potential link between French scientists and the walker outbreak.
In addition to Daryl's solo adventure overseas, AMC is also filming Dead City (previously titled Isle of the Dead), which sees unlikely allies Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) teaming up for a trip to Manhattan, which has become an isolated zombie town after "the bridges and tunnels were blown up at the onset of the pandemic," McDermott added. "It's been left that way for 12 years. And so now it's a two million walker-strong herd that is dominating the streets and making it treacherous and dangerous."
"If you had told me that a year ago that I would be doing it, I would've said, 'There's no way. I'm going to end this and walk away,'" added Morgan. "I think that The Walking Dead ending and walking away from it would've been a noble thing for us all to do. But the story was so good and so worth telling that it simply came down to, I couldn't say no. And I felt invigorated and wanted to continue it."
Many fans — Morgan, director/executive producer Greg Nicotero, and showrunner/executive Angela Kang included — feel like the network should have waited to announce the spinoff until after the series finale as way to keep fans in the dark about whether their favorite characters would live or die. Even with the fates of Maggie and Negan ruined, Kang argues that there is still the mystery of where the duo will be mentally at the close of Season 11.
"Even if you [know] this person's going to survive, do you know exactly what choice they're going to make?" she asked. "What psychic scars that's going to leave? Are they going to be horribly injured? Are people they care about going to face an awful fate? So I think there are still ways to have that sense of scares and stakes, and that's what we went with, because there are just certain things that we know are continuing."
Rounding out the roster of Walking Dead follow-ups is the AMC+ swan song for Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira), first announced at San Diego Comic-Con to thunderous applause in the legendary Hall H. "It became clear the best, most epic story we could tell would be a multi-episode, six-hour long, epic love story about these two rediscovering themselves, reconnecting and setting off to reclaim their family," McDermott said.
"I think it's critical because Rick Grimes really is The Walking Dead," admitted Nicotero. "It was his story. We started the story with him. So it made me realize that The Walking Dead evolved into a lot of different things. All of them very entertaining and all of them very powerful and very emotional, but the Rick Grimes of it really stands on its own. And I'm really excited about where that's headed."
Moving away from the traditional 16-episode seasons of the last 12 years, each of these breakaway titles will consist of six episodes apiece, which seems like a way to limit financial risk. If viewership is high and reviews are favorable, then we'll provably see renewals for longer seasons.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC Sunday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET. The first two episodes will be available to stream on AMC+ the same night.
If you're looking to satisfy your zombie craving immediately, head over to Peacock and check out the movie that kickstarted the entire genre: George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Or check out the SYFY original series, Day of the Dead.