The Walking Dead Star Slams Rumors Blaming Norman Reedus for Melissa McBride's Spinoff Exit

The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan is shutting down rumors Norman Reedus is to blame for co-star Melissa McBride's decision to drop out of AMC's Daryl and Carol spinoff. After tweeting and calling out "toxic" Walking Dead fans for their "sh*tty" treatment of the Daryl Dixon actor on social media over "a call that was [McBride's] alone," Morgan made another tweet saying McBride's sudden departure was "hard on both of them." Reedus and McBride are longtime friends and the only actors to star in all eleven seasons of the Georgia-shot AMC zombie drama, making their first appearances together in a season one episode of The Walking Dead in 2010. 

"What?? Cmon? Nobody more gutted at Melissa's decision than norman," the Negan actor replied to a since-deleted tweet accusing Morgan of "lies" in his initial tweet. "Rumors aren't from crew. They're from some asshat who's never seen a set before. I was there. It was hard on both of them because they do love each other. Y'all make assumptions that are really hurtful. Stop it." 

"Some of you have gone WAY too far. TOXIC," reads Morgan's first tweet. "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 SH*TTY."

In a follow-up tweet, Morgan reaffirmed Reedus "had nothing to do" with the untitled spinoff's shooting location in Europe. Some Twitter users baselessly claimed McBride was deliberately "forced out" of the spinoff by Reedus due to the move overseas.

"That decision is all about story, ideas... MONEY. That's studio/network. Not actors," Morgan tweeted. "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."

In a statement, AMC said "relocating to Europe became logistically untenable for Melissa at this time." The now-solo Daryl Dixon spinoff is set and will film in Europe this summer with Stumptown's David Zabel replacing executive producer Angela Kang as showrunner

"Norman Reedus is being unfairly targeted and attacked in social media for a decision he had no part in," an AMC spokesperson said in a second statement issued in response to online backlash aimed at Reedus. "Melissa McBride decided she could not participate in the series because relocating to Europe became logistically untenable for her. It is inappropriate to direct negativity and anger at another cast member for a disappointing outcome he had nothing to do with."

In September 2020, AMC revealed the greenlit Daryl/Carol show when announcing The Walking Dead would end after an expanded, two-year eleventh and final season in 2022. Described by Kang as a "road show" with a lighter tone, the Walking Dead showrunner was to reprise that role on the spinoff she co-created with AMC's Walking Dead Universe chief content officer Scott Gimple. 

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Reedus' Daryl Dixon spinoff is still expected to premiere in 2023 on AMC and AMC+. Episodic anthology spinoff series Tales of the Walking Dead arrives this summer and will be followed by Morgan and Lauren Cohan's Negan/Maggie spinoff Isle of the Dead in 2023.

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