The Walking Dead: Daryl and Carol Were Meant to Leave and Come Back

Norman Reedus says it was a "shock" to learn of the coming end of The Walking Dead, revealing the plan was for Daryl (Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) to leave together in a spinoff before returning to the flagship. Reedus and McBride, who are the only remaining Walking Dead cast members who appeared in the zombie drama's first season in 2010, will again receive top billing in the show's expanded two-year final season to air between 2021 and 2022. The pair will then continue their adventure, this time on the road, in an as-yet-untitled Daryl/Carol spinoff taking them towards a new frontier in the zombie apocalypse.

"It was something that Melissa and I talked about a long time ago, and it would be a fun idea to do this if there ever was a spinoff in the future," Reedus said of the new show on Talking Dead Sunday. "And we kind of knew about it for a little while, but we always thought that we would leave the group and then come back and check-in with the group. That was always part of the plan, so it was a shock to me to hear that news. I was as shocked as everybody else."

In September, AMC announced the next full season of The Walking Dead would be the last when confirming plans for a spinoff following the Daryl and Carol characters. The Daryl Dixon actor is "really excited" about continuing the story of the main show in the spinoff.

"I've always loved the relationship with Daryl and Carol, and we play off of each other so well," Reedus said. "It's a different type of show. It's a show of hope. It's not two groups fighting for territory, or something like that. It's she and I on the road, seeing who is left out in the world, and it kind of opens up a lot of possibilities."

He continued, "So it's kind of bittersweet, having one end and starting another [show]. This show has been a part of our lives for so long."

Following Sunday's Season 10 finale, "A Certain Doom," there are 30 episodes of The Walking Dead still to come between early 2021 and late 2022. This number includes the six all-new Season 10 bonus episodes that will soon begin filming with coronavirus safety protocols in place.

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"[The Walking Dead] means a lot to a lot of people, and for that I'm really grateful. And also grateful that there's 24 episodes, plus the six that we're doing, so [the end] is a ways away," McBride said. "That kind of pads the news a little bit. And then it's pretty thrilling to think that there's gonna be a spinoff, which is also a way away [laughs]. Anything can happen."

The Walking Dead returns with new episodes early 2021 on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.