Why did Melissa McBride exit The Walking Dead spinoff?

Last week, fans of The Walking Dead were left disappointed by some surprising news: Well over a year after its announcement, star Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier) has officially dropped out of the proposed “Daryl-Carol” spinoff series. Since the news dropped, there’s been no shortage of theories about exactly why she decided to leave, and thankfully, Norman Reedus (Daryl) is on hand to clear things up.

During an appearance on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, Reedus wasn’t shy about giving us some answers about what happened. “I know it’s going to be much different than the [original] show,” he said. “It was originally Carol and I, Melissa McBride and I, but she’s taking time off. Like you know, 12 years is a grueling schedule and she wanted to take some time off. So she’s doing that and she deserves it.”

McBride has been with The Walking Dead since its start over a decade ago and there’s nothing strange about her leaving the project, despite what some theorists would lead you to believe. And despite McBride taking some much-deserved time off, Reedus has no doubt that she’ll one day return to the franchise. “I imagine those characters are going to meet back up at some point,” he teased. “I might even meet up with some other characters down the road.”

The spinoff will now center around Daryl as he makes his way to Europe… for whatever reason. Perhaps it has something to do with the variant zombies in France that we briefly saw in The Walking Dead: World Beyond season 2.

This wasn’t the only change for the spinoff. Last week, Deadline reported that Angela Kang — who’s currently showrunner on the mother series — will no longer act as showrunner. Instead, the duties now fall to David Zabel.

Filming The Walking Dead season 11 was “exhausting”

Of all the seasons, it sounds like the final 24-episode season was the hardest to film. It’s eight episodes longer than the average season, the pressure to end things well was fierce, and it was all done during a pandemic.

“This last season, we were doing it for a full year, which was exhausting, and you’re in the woods and you’re crying, you’re killing, screaming, fighting,” Reedus said. “You’ve seen the show, it’s not Succession. You’re not on a yacht, eating caviar. We’re eating squirrels and killing each other.”

However, when all is said and done, everyone will look back on the show with fond memories. After filming the final episode, it was time for celebration. “There was a lot of drinking, a lot of confetti canons. It felt surreal.”

The Walking Dead returns for its final eight episodes later this year on AMC. In the meantime, Fear The Walking Dead is currently airing the second half of its seventh season. The currently untitled Daryl spinoff is slated to premiere in 2023.

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