AMC’s The Walking Dead was on the air for 11 years, which may be too long, depending on your point of view. While the franchise isn’t aiming to slow down any time soon, one of its big spinoffs is focused on Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon. With the fan-favorite archer taking center stage franchise collaborator Greg Nicotero views the new show is a good opportunity to go back to the glory days of the mothership series.
In a recent interview with Polygon, Nicotero discussed Daryl and how its production felt like “starting all over again and doing what [original Walking Dead showrunner] Frank Darabont and I did in season one.” With its first episode, the aim is to echo the pilot of the original show and bring things to a more simplified approach. That episode, “Days Gone Bye,” was a largely contained experience that focused on Grimes waking up from a coma as the zombie apocalypse is well underway. Daryl’s pilot is said to mimic the stripped down approach of that episode, as the titular character wanders through Paris, including the Eiffel Tower and the city’s catacombs. For him, it was important to have Daryl “go back to the DNA of what made the original first few seasons of The Walking Dead so good: keeping the stories singular and focused.”
Daryl Dixon sees the title character wind up in France and trying to make his way back to the US. During his travels, he’ll cross paths with other survivors, which Nicotero likened to the old Incredible Hulk TV series: “You come across the person and over the course of the episode, they meet people, and then...they leave,” he explained. “The people are changed because of it, and he’s changed because of it.” He went on to add that it was meant to build on Daryl’s growth as a co-lead during the original series—where he became “the Robin to [Rick’s] Batman”—and give the character a purpose as a wandering hero.
“Daryl feels like there’s more for him to do, [and he] knows that there are other people in the world out there that need him,” continued Nicotero. “Daryl really does have a big heart, and would do anything for people, even though he may start for the wrong reasons. He can’t help himself. [...] We’ve gone back to those sort of building blocks.”
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon premieres on AMC next Sunday, September 10.
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