The Walking Dead Universe got shaken up this week, when it was announced that franchise star Melissa McBride was dropping out of the Daryl and Carol spinoff series that's in development. In a statement, AMC claimed that the reasoning beyond McBride's departure was purely logistical: "Unfortunately, she [Melissa] 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."
Despite that very reasonable explanation, The Walking Dead fandom has nonetheless seen some of its uglier side resurge over this news. Some people have speculated that Walking Dead Norman Reedus was somehow behind the decision to drop McBride; after all, the outcome of Carol leaving is that the show has now been revised to focus solely on Reedus's Daryl Dixon. Naturally, soem Internet conspiracy theorist look at that situation and see one actor snaking another, in order to grab top billing.
Well, if you are one of the people that thinks Norman Reedus wronged Melissa McBride, Negan actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan has bone to pick with you!
"Some of you have gone WAY too far. TOXIC," Morgan posted on Twitter. "Attacking norm for crap he has NOTHING to do with? Melissa made a call that was hers alone. She wants/needs a break. Respect that. Factors involved that are nobody's business. Norm, who's given more than anyone to you all. Just SHITTY."
One fan questioned whether or not Norman Reedus may have caused the issue by demanding the Daryl and Carol spinoff be filmed in the UK (Reedus shares a daughter with German actress Diane Kruger). However, Morgan quickly shot down that theory, as well:
"Norman had nothing to do with picking location. That decision is all about story, ideas... MONEY. That's studio/network. Not actors. We can say yes and do, or no, and not do... MAYBE. SOMETIMES. If we're lucky and don't have contract yet. Rarely does actor have that power."
Some of you have gone WAY too far. TOXIC. Attacking norm for crap he has NOTHING to do with? Melissa made a call that was hers alone. She wants/needs a break. Respect that. Factors involved that are nobody’s business. Norm, who’s given more than anyone to you all. Just SHITTY.— Jeffrey Dean Morgan (@JDMorgan) April 29, 2022
What Jeffrey Dean Morgan lays out in the thread above is indeed very true: actors rarely (if ever) have the clout to make the demand of where a studio shoots a project. They get a casting call, and they have to go whether the production is located. AMC's reasoning for filming in the UK could be entirely budgetary – especially in the post-pandemic era, when studios are trying to balance increased costs for filming with content demands.
Let's all just give Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride a break right now, okay? Jeffrey Dead Morgan has all the reason in the world to speak on this: he will soon join Walking Dead star Lauren Cohen in a new spinoff about Maggie and Negan, Isle of the Dead.