As AMC bids au revoir to The Walking Dead after eleven seasons, the cabler is saying bonjour to the Daryl Dixon spinoff series. The first series within the Walking Dead Universe to take place overseas in Paris, France, the spinoff show (currently known under the working title "Daryl Dixon") stars Norman Reedus as the crossbow-wielding zombie apocalypse survivor he's played since 2010. With production ramping up on the European-shot series reuniting Reedus and longtime Walking Dead director, executive producer, and special FX make-up designer Greg Nicotero, the actor teased what to expect from the solo show previewed in a TWDU trailer that aired during Sunday's midseason premiere of The Walking Dead.
"We haven't started yet, but it's getting real right now," Reedus said Sunday on Talking Dead. "All the prep's happening, Greg's out there whipping everybody into shape right now. The sets are crazy. There are castles! It's a whole other level."
Also on another level: "The cinematography's gonna be insane, the tone, the feel, the sound is going to be different," Reedus teased. "It's going to be a different vibe."
Originally developed by Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang and TWDU chief content officer Scott M. Gimple as a Daryl & Carol spinoff, the reworked series instead focuses on Daryl as he wakes up on the European continent without knowing how he got there — or how he's getting home. Reedus' longtime co-star Melissa McBride, who has played Carol since the first season of The Walking Dead, dropped out of the series when production relocated from the United States to Europe. (Reedus and McBride have assured fans Daryl and Carol will reunite somewhere down the road.)
Filming will take place in France this year with David Zabel (ER) replacing Kang as showrunner. Gimple, who serves as executive producer of the Daryl Dixon spinoff, was the first to reveal the French setting on The Walking Dead Universe Preview special.
"Daryl is a fish out of water to start with. If Daryl finds himself with new people, he's a fish out of water. In France, in a country that's going through the apocalypse, [it's] an entirely different thing," Gimple said. "He finds himself having to reinvent himself again, having to find himself again, and also, not being with — probably — the only people in the world he's comfortable with."
Reedus has hinted Daryl will be on a "mission" dealing with the "smarter" variant walkers not seen since the first season of The Walking Dead. As these regional variants return in the flagship's final episodes, the Daryl series connects to the post-credits scene of The Walking Dead: World Beyond.
That spinoff ended with Dr. Edwin Jenner's (Noah Emmerich) decade-old video message playing in a French lab marked with graffiti: Les morts sont nes icl. "The dead are born here."
"[The World Beyond coda] is a bit of a tease of some of the things Daryl is going to face," Gimple confirmed.
The Walking Dead's Daryl Dixon spinoff is slated to premiere in 2023 on AMC and AMC+ alongside separate spinoffs starring Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
Follow @CameronBonomolo and @NewsOfTheDead on Twitter for TWD Universe coverage all season long. New episodes of The Walking Dead's final season premiere Sundays on AMC and AMC+.