Norman Reedus reveals how he put a bow on The Walking Dead: by keeping Daryl Dixon's bows. Reedus has played the crossbow-wielding zombie apocalypse survivor for all eleven seasons of the zombie drama, which will end after a 12-year run later this year on AMC. Ahead of the final eight episodes of The Walking Dead — and Reedus' return in Daryl's solo spinoff set to film and take place in Europe this summer — Reedus has opened up about his final day on set and the keepsakes he took home.
"I walked out with my entire outfit. I just, I didn't change clothes," Reedus told PEOPLE. "I was hugging people and crying and saying goodbye to everybody that I just ended up driving home in my outfit. So I have all of it."
Aside from the props and costumes donated to the Smithsonian in 2017, including one of Daryl's iconic crossbows, Reedus held onto "all the other vests — and I think, all the other crossbows. I think I have like eight crossbows now, which is crazy."
To commemorate the series wrap after 12 years, Reedus "gave everybody these wrap gifts... these little special knives I had made. It was sad and bittersweet."
"There were a lot of tears and a lot of speeches. They handed me the mic first and I was like, 'Uh oh,' because I was nervous... It was super emotional," said Reedus, who along with co-star Melissa McBride is the only Walking Dead actor to appear in all 11 seasons. "I think what I'll miss the most is the people, not just the cast, but the crew. You become very tight with the crew after that long. We've become really good friends and a lot of us still keep in contact."
After an all-night shoot, the end of The Walking Dead didn't hit Reedus until the "sort of surreal" drive home.
"I take a certain way to my house in Georgia through the woods, and when I got to my gate, I was like, 'Wow, I'm never going to take that route again,'" he recalled. "The sun was coming up and it kind of hit me in the car. I was like, 'Wow, that just ended.'"
Reedus will next head overseas to film the Daryl Dixon spinoff from showrunner and TWD Universe newcomer David Zabel (Stumptown, Mercy Street). Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang originally developed the spinoff as a road show starring Daryl and Carol before McBride dropped out of the still-untitled series.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season Part 3 airs this fall on AMC. Reedus returns as Daryl in the spinoff set to premiere in 2023.