As fans of The Walking Dead surely know, their favorite zombie series is coming to a close but the franchise will continue on. Along with the continuing Fear the Walking Dead and the concluded mini-series The Walking Dead: The World Beyond, a number of new spin-offs have been announced, including one focusing on Norman Reedus as Daryl and Melissa McBride as Carol — the only remaining cast members from the original series’ first season. But a new report that broke today reveals a seismic shift in the show — Daryl will appear in the series, but Carol will not.
TV Line reports unnamed resources told the site that Melissa McBride will not, as originally planned, be joining Norman Reedus for the still untitled Walking Dead spin-off. Immediately after TV Line reported the news, the scuttlebutt was that Carol was being kept out of the spin-off because the show’s creative direction had changed. Since then, an unnamed AMC spokesperson told TV Line that in fact the reason has to do with logistics. The spokesperson said that the spin-off will be filmed in Europe this summer and will premiere next year. “Relocating to Europe became logistically untenable for [Melissa McBride] at this time,” the spokesperson explained. They continued, “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.”
One conclusion fans might understandably come to in light of the news is that Norman Reedus will be flying solo in the upcoming spin-off because Carol is due for one of The Walking Dead‘s infamously brutal death scenes before the series’ conclusion. Considering the AMC spokesperson made sure to say they hoped for Melissa McBride would appear again in the franchise, that might be reassuring. But then again in a post-No Way Home entertainment industry, what statement can you trust?
Last year during an IMDb Q&A with other Walking Dead stars, Norman Reedus talked about the spin-off a little bit. Without mentioning specifics, Reedus warned fans to expect something a lot different from the home series. “It won’t look like an episode of The Walking Dead with just Daryl and Carol,” Reedus assured fans. “It’ll be completely different.” You can watch that Q&A below.
It’s interesting, if regretful, to consider how much the series may have to change because of McBride’s departure. TV Line says the series will now focus on the Norman Reedus character. But while we don’t know much about what the show would have been, it’s difficult to imagine a show revolving around two characters can change to a show revolving around just one without it becoming essentially a completely different series altogether.
While he may not have Melissas McBride to keep him company, Norman Reedus will not be alone in the spin-off game. The show filming this summer will be one of a growing list of Walking Dead series. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan will travel to Manhattan in the 6-episode mini-series Isle of the Dead, and a bunch of stars — including Terry Crews, Olivia Munn, and Anthony Edwards — will appear in the anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead.