Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan may have departed The Walking Dead on Sunday night, but AMC wasted no time in signing on their replacements to massive new franchise mega-deals. Both Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride have already put the pen to paper on their new contracts, while Danai Gurira is still in negotiations.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Reedus (Daryl) and McBride (Carol) have signed substantial new deals for the overall Walking Dead franchise, that will both exist beyond the main series itself. Either one of the two actors could spinoff into their own movie, or onto another series, if they're written off the the regular Walking Dead show. No matter what, both McBride and Reedus are now signed on to The Walking Dead universe for a total of three years.
Reedus will make $350,000 per episode on The Walking Dead, and guarantees in his new contract reportedly make the deal worth anywhere between $50 million and $90 million over the next three years. McBride's new deal is said to be worth around $20 million over the same time period, which gives her a significant pay increase.
"The deals that we made for Norman and Melissa are franchise deals. Our deals with Norman and Melissa allow us the flexibility to either move them or use them in more than one place, depending on what seems creatively right to Scott and to his partners," AMC programming president David Madden told The Hollywood Reporter. "We do look at this as a universe where we're trying to expand into as many different places as the show fits. We think this is a franchise that could live across formats. So, we want to do it carefully; we want to be strategic; we want to try to do it right. But there is a multi-year plan that could include additional series, digital content and specials."
Gurira's deal is a little more complicated, simply because she's become a breakout star in both film and theater. Her role in the Black Panther and the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe has helped the actress gain attention around the world, making her deal a bit harder to negotiate.
Still, despite Gurira's newly acquired stardom, the folks at AMC and The Walking Dead still want her to stick around and lead the franchise going forward.
"She has been very vocal about saying that she loves the show. We love Danai; we love that character. Right now, she's got a lot of opportunities and she needs to weigh what she feels is best for her. But we certainly would want her on the show as long as she wants to be on it," Madden says. "We really want her to stay. She is an incredibly valuable character and I'm really hoping she stays. Obviously, the lesson of Andy is that the show can survive anybody's departure if need be but that's not our goal. The goal is to have Danai continue on whatever basis she can make work, given the other things that she has going on in her life."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.