Norman Reedus says Walking Dead spin-off will be very different show

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 12: Norman Reedus attends ACE Comic Con Midwest at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on October 12, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 12: Norman Reedus attends ACE Comic Con Midwest at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on October 12, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images) /

Walking Dead spin-off will be a completely different show according to Reedus.

When the end of The Walking Dead was announced, in conjunction with a following spin-off for Carol and Daryl being announced, many fans felt confused. Why end a show and create a whole different one with the same two leads?

Although there were some obvious reasons for this – to do with a tired fanbase and diminishing viewership – new interviews with TWD universe chief content controller Scott Gimple and TWD star Norman Reedus may provide further insight into the decision.

In a recent interview with Insider, Gimple talked about the Carol and Daryl spin-off saying, “It’s going to be a different show with a different tone”.

This was backed up by Norman Reedus’ appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Thursday, when he described the spin-off as “a different type of a show, it’ll be completely different.”

These quotes together give us a clear indication that while the new show will have the same leads as The Walking Dead, it will have a clearly defined separate identity.

This explains why it simply wouldn’t be TWD with different supporting characters, and indicates AMC, Gimple and show-runner Angela Kang had a clear idea of something very different in mind all along.

Gimple also talked about the fact that this spin-off has been planned for some years, and was created with a particular story in mind, in the Insider interview:

“Angela and I have been working on a story for awhile and there’s just a very super interesting story there.”

So it seems that far from being a stripped down version of TWD, coming from the ashes of the main show, the spin-off has come from a different place and has grown naturally as a branch away from the show.

The comment on a different tone is perhaps the most interesting reveal, as it suggests a move away from the sometimes controversial darker aspects of TWD.

Earlier this year AMC president Sarah Barnett talked to the press about the fact that research had shown that viewers had walked away from the show during the Saviors arc due to the show being “too hopeless”.

Seeing our heroes being pummelled literally and emotionally for several seasons took it’s toll, and brought a level of depression to the show that may not have been there before. Having AMC acknowledge this, shows they want to learn from that mistake, and that may be the direction the spin-off is headed.

It seems logical that “a different tone” would therefore be something that goes in the opposite direction to that which the show-runners know divided the audience, and so it seems likely we can expect a much lighter tone in the Carol and Daryl spin-off.

While lightness may not be something one might automatically associate with these two perpetually tortured characters, it is something which has been peppered through their interactions over the seasons.

Kimmel joked with Reedus that the new show would be a sitcom, and though that may be an exaggeration, having the spin-off lie more on the border of comedy-drama, such as current shows like Lucifer , isn’t so far fetched.

The teasing and fun scenes we have seen between Carol and Daryl – from the shoulder massage flirtation in “Seed” to the friendship bracelet banter from “Lines We Cross”- have always been popular, and add a realistic dimension to their deep friendship. Using this dynamic as the core for their spin-off might be a great way to tap into that audience approval.

The change in tone may also refer to a more positive outlook for the series overall, with a hopeful ethos running through its arcs. This could mean a show without a “big bad” villain like Negan or Alpha, instead focusing more on the good people out there and their struggles.

This theme would fit with Carol and Daryl’s exchange about finding people like them, those sick of fighting, and could get back to the early seasons of TWD where the peril came from the environment.

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It will certainly be interesting to see in which ways the spin-off breaks from the TWD mould and if it manages to create its own identity and style, without losing its ties to its origins.