Carol Peletier and Daryl Dixon were chosen to lead a spinoff set to debut after The Walking Dead officially ends in 2022, and it's a logical decision on AMC's end. Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus have portrayed their respective characters since the post-apocalyptic zombie drama began in 2011. Since then, the figures have grown into fan-favorites with deeper character arcs. Based on Robert Kirkman's comic book series, the flagship series is set to conclude after a supersized season 11, but the franchise as a whole still has a bright future.
Both Carol and Daryl made their Walking Dead debut in the third overall episode titled "Tell It to the Frogs." Carol was a member of the survivor camp by the quarry alongside her young daughter, Sophia, and her abusive husband, Ed. Daryl was also a member of the group, but he was much more aggressive considering the treatment of his older brother, Merle. Though Daryl emerged as a skilled survivor since the onset of the apocalypse, it took Carol much more time to find her inner strength. Eventually, Carol and Daryl became two of the most integral members of the core group and staunch allies of Rick Grimes.
Over the course of 10 seasons, The Walking Dead has never hesitated when it came to killing off major characters. In addition, the long-running series has suffered the departures of key characters of Rick and Michonne in recent years. As a result, Carol and Daryl remain the only original characters left in the flagship title. It's no question that viewers regard McBride and Reedus' characters as two of the best since the early days. Those behind the creative process, as well as AMC, have recognized this fact, which is why the pair were picked to headline a series already greenlit for 2023.
Walking Dead Viewers Are Still Loyal To Legacy Characters
It's no secret that major deaths of popular characters in The Walking Dead have resulted in declined viewership. Many fans were turned off by the graphic deaths of Abraham and Glenn, in addition to the questionable arc surrounding Carl's character. With Morgan's move to Fear the Walking Dead, Maggie Rhee's short exit, Rick's new story direction, and Michonne's departure, longtime viewers have been encountering diminishing interest with the lack of legacy characters in the main story.
With a planned spinoff featuring Carol and Daryl in the spotlight, fans will rest easy knowing the two will survive the end of The Walking Dead. There's also an opportunity to follow the arcs of these original characters to the very end without the distracting turnover of side characters. Just because their relationship never turned romantic doesn't mean that Carol and Daryl can't continue being trusted companions embarking on new adventures. Despite their roles within the larger group, they both still hold an outsider-type of mentality.
Carol and Daryl may have been highlighted to ground a future title, but The Walking Dead universe still has plans for other notable faces. Morgan is still a key figure in Fear the Walking Dead whereas Rick will headline the franchise's first feature film. AMC also has plans for an anthology series focused on new and existing characters in the fictional world.