Dixon days: Daryl dominates new 'Walking Dead' series

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Dana Simpson / TV Media
Norman Reedus in “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon”

Norman Reedus in “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon”

Premiering Sunday, Sept. 10, on AMC and AMC , "The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon" sees the return of Norman Reedus ("The Boondock Saints," 1999) as on-screen anti-hero Daryl Dixon.

Created by David Zabel ("ER"), "The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon" is the fifth spinoff from the flagship series, hereafter referred to as TWD, and takes place after TWD's 11 seasons of horror.

While viewers have already gathered their fair share of Daryl details since his first appearance in TWD's Season 1 episode "Tell It to the Frogs," audiences have never seen the troubled "walker"-fighting hero quite like this.

"Daryl Dixon" follows the titular character as he "washes ashore in France and struggles to piece together how he got there and why" (per AMC). According to the official synopsis, "[T]he series tracks his journey across a broken but resilient France as he hopes to find a way back home," noting that as "he makes the journey ... the connections he forms along the way complicate his ultimate plan."

The title of this latest TWD spinoff was announced in October 2022, which is also when filming began in Paris. Despite AMC's initial desire to produce a series that followed another TWD character, Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride, "The Mist," 2007), the network eventually landed on "Daryl Dixon" as a result of scheduling conflicts with McBride. That said, McBride is expected to reprise her role as Carol in at least one of the premiere season's six episodes.

In fact, as mentioned by Vanity Fair writer Derek Lawrence in his November 2022 article titled "Norman Reedus Unpacks the Walking Dead Finale and His 'F---ing Great' Spin-Off," Daryl himself made a nod toward his own future series in the final episodes of the flagship series' finale.

"It's not like we're never gonna see each other again," Daryl tells Carol in an intimate scene toward the end of 'Rest in Peace,'" Lawrence writes, noting Carol's response: "I'm allowed to be a little sad. You're my best friend."

And while we have no idea what may be in store for Carol, fans can certainly expect more "Daryl Dixon" beyond the first six episodes. Just last month, AMC announced that the series had already been renewed for a second season.

Also joining the cast for Season 1 is French actress Clémence Poésy, known for her roles in films such as the Harry Potter franchise (beginning in 2005), "In Bruges" (2008) and "Tenet" (2020), among others. Poésy plays Isabelle, a French woman with a dark Parisian past and a connection to a "progressive religious group." She joins forces with Daryl on his journey.

But perhaps one of the biggest characters this season is the city of Paris herself. As seen in the official trailer, released by AMC on July 21, Daryl's journey takes him from a desolate, sandy shoreline through the ruin-scattered French countryside and into the City of Lights. Landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, appear derelict and abandoned, mere shells of their illustrious former selves, not unlike the hero who wanders the city looking for answers.

Louis Puech Scigliuzzi and Norman Reedus in “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon”

Louis Puech Scigliuzzi and Norman Reedus in “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon”

Scored by an ethereal rendition of Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune," the trailer juxtaposes the violence TWD fans have come to expect with the peace and serenity that accompanies a French monastery garden. It just so happens that in this very monastery is where Daryl learns of his next adventure. And without giving anything away, suffice it to say that "The Last of Us" fans may wish to tune in.

When discussing the dawn of "Daryl Dixon" with Lawrence during an interview that occurred pre-WGA/SAG-AFTRA strike, Reedus shared some of his excitement for the spinoff.

"It's so beautiful, it's so moving," Reedus began, "but it's like [Daryl] got swept away in a tornado and woke up in this foreign land and doesn't understand anything. There's French people speaking French, obviously, and part of the story is being confused with what’s around him, trying to figure out what they're saying, is this going to be a fight, are we going to get along?"

Despite the "epic" nature of the new series (and, of course, the Walkers), Reedus insists that the entire experience will feel very different from "The Walking Dead."

"It's a different story, it sounds different, it feels different, it looks different," Reedus mused three weeks into filming in late 2022. "It's exactly what I was hoping to do. Like, I could not be more happy with what we're getting."

"Gunpowder Milkshake's" (2021) Adam Nagaitis also helps to bring Daryl's time in Paris to life, starring as Quinn, a nightclub owner who gained prominence in the city following the zombie virus outbreak.

Anne Charrier ("Marseille"), Eriq Ebouaney ("Bastille Day," 2016), Laïka Blanc-Francard ("Reign Supreme"), Romain Levi ("Savages"), French drag performer Paloma ("Drag Race France") and new talent Louis Puech Scigliuzzi also star.

"The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon" is executive produced by Zabel, Reedus, Greg Nicotero ("Creepshow"), Scott M. Gimple ("Fillmore!"), Angela Kang ("Terriers"), Brian Bockrath ("The Walking Dead") and Daniel Percival ("The Man in the High Castle") and premieres Sunday, Sept. 10, on AMC and the AMC streaming platform.