When Melissa McBride was cast in The Walking Dead series, she was told she would be needed for "maybe three episodes." Norman Reedus impressed casting so much they created the role of Daryl for him. What was it like the first day on set for these two Walking Dead icons?
Before the final episode of The Walking Dead aired in November 2022, Entertainment Weekly published an article that chronicled the first days on set from several cast members. As Carol and Daryl prepare for the second season of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon - The Book of Carol, let's look back at these characters' first days, which occurred over 13 years ago.
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
McBride shares that when she first came on set, all she knew was that they were filming a pilot season with six episodes. The hope was to create an ongoing series, and did they ever. She first arrived during the third day of filming for the third episode, so everyone else had been working together for weeks so she mostly stayed in the background, often being told to move her position as the camera couldn't catch her.
She believed her time would be short-lived as she saw the image of Carol's fate from the comics.
This would be far from what actually happened as not only did Carol avoid her comic fate, but she would survive the series and reprise her role in a spinoff.
"And I'd seen the image of Carol letting a walker bite into her neck in the comic book, so I didn't expect to be around very long. The not-knowing-when was intriguing."- Melissa McBride
McBride fondly remembered seeing Madison Lintz, who played her daughter Sophia, and Chander Riggs, who played Carl Grimes. She knew them both and was happy to see them cast in what would be a wonderful opportunity. She also recognized many faces of the crew, some of whom she worked on The Mist with.
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
Reedus remembers feeling very nervous for his first scene. Daryl emerges from the woods to the majority of the characters standing near a deer he had been tracking. The deer was being munched on by a walker, who he proceeded to kick and stomp and utter his first words "Son of a b!tch, that's my deer! Look at it. All gnawed on by this... Filthy, disease-bearing, motherless poxy bastard!" It was a line he believed would be difficult to get out, but just went for it.
He was unsure what direction to take the character. When they handed him a string of a dozen squirrels that he needed to throw and was unsure how to do so.
"The second scene, they gave me about a dozen squirrels on a string. They just handed them to me last minute and I had to figure out how to throw them. "- Norman Reedus
Reedus remembers feeling insucure in front of the other cast members who were already friends. But soon they began to accept him, and he did the same.
McBride and Reedus will return to The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon - The Book of Carol in 2024 for the second season.