The next 1-1/2 years will be a major time of change within AMC's The Walking Dead universe. With the franchise series ending its run by the end of this year, attention will quickly shift to Fear the Walking Dead as well as the two upcoming spinoffs- Isle of the Dead with Jeffrey Dean Morgan & Lauren Cohan, and the untitled (now) solo spinoff for Norman Reedus' Daryl Dixon. Recently, Reedus sat down for a truly impressive interview with LEO where he offered some additional insights into what viewers can expect from the spinoff (which he makes clear he has no involvement with, either on the writing side or on the production side).
Reedus on How "Daryl on a Mission" Spinoff Theme Came About: "Melissa [McBride] was supposed to do the show, but she wants to take a break after 12 years. She deserves a break, and she's got some personal things she needs to take care of. And during the break, they said, 'Hey, you wanna go on a mission?' And I was like, 'Yeah, let's go on a mission' [laughs]. So, I'll be going on a mission. There's some of the characters on the show that are missing; maybe I'll run into one or two of them. So the world of 'Walking Dead' is kind of expanding into different territories and different storylines; they're kind of splitting it up, and eventually, I think some of these characters will come back together—she and I will definitely come back together."
Spinoff May Be Set in the TWD Universe, But It Won't Be TWD: "Sure, there's gonna be a spinoff, and it'll be me alone, and I'll be on this mission, and those characters will come back together later on down the road, of course; and other characters that have gone missing, I'll probably run into. But the spinoff will look totally different from the show. It'll be completely different. And to be honest, you wouldn't wanna do this show as a spinoff exactly the same by yourself, it's terrifying."
Reedus Wants the Spinoff to Offer Him (and Daryl) Something "Different": "If you look back to my history on this show, I've just been fighting nonstop, like all I do is fight, fight, fight; I never get nice things, I'm constantly… If I find something I like, it's taken away from me [laughs]. You know, people are funny, they're like, 'I've never seen this show. Do you cry on this show?' I'm like, can you fucking… All I do is cry. All I do is cry and scream and fight. It's all I do. It's exhausting. So I just wanna see something different. Automatically, the geography will be different. The people will be different, and I imagine I won't understand what the hell people are talking about for the most part [laughs] because I don't think my character speaks any other languages. I just wanna see something different. I want the tone to be different. I want the look to be different."
So How Much Longer Does Reedus See Himself Playing Daryl? "I don't know. There's something about being on television for a long period of time that I really like. I started this show with really short hair, now it's really long. And to watch a character's hair grow in real-time as you watch, it kind of makes it more personal to a viewer. They think they really know the guy, up to a fault. It would be crazy if all of a sudden Daryl was like jacked with a six-pack. It'd be weird to watch it, you'd go, 'That doesn't fit anywhere on this thing.' I like having the realness of real-time happening in front of my eyes. Also, it bleeds into my performance in a way; some of the actors that have come and gone, I've learned from as Norman, and their characters influence decisions Daryl's making, and it seems very real. Like Scott Wilson. I loved him as a person, and some of his dialogue and the things that he did on the show, as I age on camera in front of everybody, I'm slowly starting to adopt some of his ways. Or Rick. It kind of seems very real."
While it might be a few months still until the final chapters hit our screens (and we get a bit more clarity on the spinoff confusion), it wasn't too early for a preview of what's to come in Season 11 Part 3. The following clip finds Mercer (Michael James Shaw) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) comparing notes, Daryl and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) hiding from Commonwealth soldiers, Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) not looking so well, Carol (Melissa McBride) being the kind of shady we need right now, and Daryl bringing "Rick Grimes" back into the conversation. AMC's The Walking Dead Season 11 Part 3 premieres this fall.