Opinion: Why TWD ending and a Carol and Daryl spin-off makes sense

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier; group - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier; group - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC /

Why does The Walking Dead ending and a Carol and Daryl spin-off make sense?

AMC have announced today that The Walking Dead series will end after an extending season 11 in 2022, with a Carol and Daryl spin-off show coming in 2023.

Despite the obvious bad news (along with the messy release of the news) in this announcement, it isn’t all doom and gloom.

A Carol and Daryl spin-off in itself is the best news ever for a huge part of the fandom – the Caryl shippers, of which I am one. But even for the general fans it could be great news.

The demise of TWD in itself is incredibly sad, of course. However, it has been on life-support for some time in terms of audience viewing figures.

It haemorrhaged viewers during the Negan arc (with the AMC boss saying viewers found it too bleak), and although it has stabilised since Angela Kang took over as show-runner, the fans have not returned in great numbers.

For many, TWD was over when Carl died or Rick left. The Grimes’ WERE TWD for many fans, and without them it’s just not the same show. A fact amplified by the departure of Michonne in season 10.

So, if that’s true, why not make a new show? If people aren’t connecting with the new characters the same way they did the Grimes, then maybe it’s time to move on.

It could be that the very title of “The Walking Dead” is holding the show back, as it cannot lose the associations or beliefs viewers who have stopped watching hold about the show under that banner.

With a new show, it could lose that ball and chain of people saying the show “isn’t what it was.” It literally won’t be.

Every single TWD article out there in the past couple of years has a deluge of “is that show still on?” comments underneath it, so by announcing an end, and a spin-off, it really could be a way to reignite fans.

As The Good Place taught us, knowing there is an end is what makes things so meaningful. So with an end to TWD in sight, it makes the last stories left to tell all the stronger.

Announcing an end point truly may be the best way to get an audience back for the final stories Angela Kang and co want to tell about this particular group of people, and let the show go out with a bang rather than a whimper.

The show is coming perilously close to the end of the comics, in terms of source material. Princess and the Commonwealth is the last major development in the comics, and it would only take a season – or in this case an extended season – to tell the remaining stories left to tell.

Without the TWD label and the tie-in of the comic stories, a new show has the room to tell its own tales. It’s possibly an exciting new launchpad for stories that have yet to be told, without any limitations of the legacy of Robert Kirkman’s comic-books.

And when it comes to the spin-off, anyone who writes about TWD will tell you that for years Daryl and Carol have been the most talked about characters on the show, and for the majority, the most beloved.

Their chemistry is noted by everyone from critics to cast to award committees. Dedicating the spin-off around this powerful, and so loved, pair is smart.

It allows the show to centre the stories on two people we know and love, giving us an emotional anchor even if the surrounding characters come and go.

We have followed Carol and Daryl for ten years, we know all their traumas and triumphs. We know the depth of love they have for each other, and what they can achieve together.

There’s no doubt episodes centred around them, individually and together have consistently been the most popular, with Melissa McBride especially drawing most plaudits for her acting.

Thus it is not surprising AMC would feel secure placing the future of TWD’s new era on their very capable shoulders.

Having the Carol and Daryl duo take off on their own adventures is really a thrilling ride into the unknown for us and them. We can follow the relationship we are so very invested in, and yet see it in a whole new world, with new environments and new challenges.

Next. The Walking Dead to end with spinoff, supersized season 11. dark

Of course we are all heart-broken to say goodbye to many of the newer characters we have grown to love in recent years, but it was inevitable that an 11 year old show would not go on forever.

And hopefully, with this advance notice they can have well-rounded endings, whilst Carol and Daryl literally ride off into the sunset to bring us something new we might love just as much.