Norman Reedus is back to work on The Walking Dead. The Daryl Dixon actor is among the cast members now in Georgia for filming on the Extended Season 10 episodes designed for safe shooting during the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down both The Walking Dead and spinoff Fear the Walking Dead in March. As the franchise returns to life six months later, the cast and crew of network AMC's flagship series are moving forward on a half-dozen more episodes with newly implemented safety protocols — including thrice-weekly COVID testing and an on-set epidemiologist.
"We have all these protocols now. We have to take COVID tests three times a week," Reedus said during a virtual interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live. "The epidemiologist from the Pentagon during the SARS scare is our on-set doctor now. There's a whole thing going on over here."
These six new episodes are more anthological and smaller in scale, taking place in the aftermath of The Walking Dead's original Season 10 finale, "A Certain Doom," airing October 4. The episodes explore the fallout from The Whisperer War with "deep dive" character-focused stories, each suited for filming amid the pandemic.
"The episodes are all designed to be filmed safely during this pandemic that we're in," executive producer and showrunner Angela Kang explained during Sunday's Walking Dead Universe Preview Special. "There's sort of an anthological feel to some of them. They're really deep dives into our characters, which I hope people enjoy."
She added, "We've been enjoying working on something that's a little bit different from what we were doing in the main part of Season 10. We just get to feature different people and tell these little stories that all kind of add up to a picture of what our survivors are going through, and that will lead us into Season 11 eventually."
The expanded eleventh season, due out in late 2021, will consist of 24 episodes for the first time. Including these six Extended Season 10 episodes premiering early next year, there are just 30 episodes left of The Walking Dead until the show concludes.
These six episodes are "extremely friendly to the challenges" of filming during the COVID era, executive producer Scott Gimple recently told Decider.
"We were just very smart about the creative," Gimple said. "What's amazing was the constraints that were embraced have resulted in some of the most amazing scripts the show has produced."
The Walking Dead Extended Season 10 episodes will release in early 2021 on AMC. Reedus first returns in the Special Event airing of "A Certain Doom" on Sunday, October 4. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.