The Walking Dead: Daryl Spinoff Will Break Away From Franchise Formula in One Major Way

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon will take place an entire ocean away from the original series' locations.

The Walking Dead Daryl Norman Reedus
Photo: AMC

This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond.

The world of The Walking Dead is expanding its scope with the upcoming spinoff The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon. The new series will not only see Norman Reedus go off on his own adventure, it’ll also break away from the franchise formula in terms of its setting. You see, this highly-anticipated spinoff will actually take place in France, showcasing a different side of the apocalyptic world we’ve been watching for over a decade, according to Deadline.

This marks the first time a major Walking Dead series takes place outside of North America. The main series spent most of its run in the Southeast, as Rick and his group of survivors made their way across Georgia to Virginia, at one point making it to Washington D.C., although they eventually landed in Commonwealth territory located in Ohio. Fear the Walking Dead opened in Los Angeles, before taking us to post-apocalyptic Mexico and later Texas. While World Beyond hinted at what was going on in France (we’ll get to that in a minute), it also sent its characters across the continental US rather than offshore.

It’s also clear now that Daryl Dixon won’t be the Daryl and Carol spinoff that fans were hoping for after Melissa McBride exited the show. Instead, the new series will introduce two new characters that will be a part of Daryl’s journey on the other side of the Atlantic. Actor Clémence Poésy (The Essex Serpent, Harry Potter) will play Isabelle, who, according to Deadline, is “a member of a progressive religious group, who joins forces with Daryl on a journey across France and finds herself confronting her dark past in Paris.” Meanwhile, Adam Nagaitis (Chernobyl, Gunpowder Milkshake) will play Quinn “a displaced Brit who has become powerful in post-apocalyptic Paris as a black marketeer and the owner of the Demimonde, a sexy underground nightclub.”

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Before McBride decided not to move forward with the series, the Daryl and Carol spinoff was set to be a road trip drama with the two of them “going to see who’s left in the world.” According to an interview with Den of Geek in 2020, Reedus teased that there would be a “revolving group of people” introduced as Daryl and Carol explored new places. Based on Isabelle’s character description, it seems as though the series is keeping the road trip elements in place with Isabelle as Daryl’s new travel companion.

The name of Quinn’s nightclub, Demimonde, translates to “half-world” in French, and in English the word refers to a group of people on the fringes of “respectable” society. In other words, it’s a fitting name for a club operating in a post-apocalyptic world. Since Daryl probably isn’t the first person you’d picture in an underground Parisian nightclub, it will be interesting to see how his journey intersects with Quinn’s. 

These new characters also offer insight into how The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon will be different from the original series and how Daryl’s journey in France could play out. As The Walking Dead: World Beyond post-credits scene showed us, French scientists appear to be the cause of the zombie outbreak that wiped out most of the world. Perhaps Isabelle’s “dark past” and her new life as a member of a religious group is related to that? Because nothing drives people to post-apocalyptic religions like fear and guilt. Or maybe if Daryl doesn’t learn of Rick’s survival in the series finale of TWD, he’ll discover that he’s alive through Quinn’s underground network. Or maybe none of the above!

No matter how Daryl’s spinoff plays out though, moving his story from the U.S. to France opens up so many possibilities for expanding The Walking Dead universe while still giving Daryl the solo story he deserves. It will be interesting to see how a large metropolitan city like Paris was transformed by the zombie apocalypse and how these new characters continue to survive in spite of the end of the world.