When filming wrapped on The Walking Dead’s final episode, Norman Reedus poetically left the set dressed as the character he’s become synonymous with.
Norman Reedus shares how he walked off The Walking Dead’s set as Daryl Dixon following the series’ final day of filming. Based on Robert Kirkman’s finished comic series of the same name, The Walking Dead premiered on AMC on Halloween in 2010. For its first nine seasons, the series followed ex-deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) as he led a group of survivors during the zombie apocalypse. The series’ most notable original character is easily that of tracker extraordinaire, Daryl Dixon.
Reedus first appeared in The Walking Dead season 1, episode 3, “Tell it to the Frogs,” as the (more) level-headed brother of Merle (Michael Rooker). While the latter character would prove to be an antagonistic force, Daryl and his winged biker vest became a valued member of Rick’s group. Following Lincoln’s exit in The Walking Dead season 9, Reedus’ character has become one of Alexandria’s de facto leaders, caring for his “fallen” brother and Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) children while dealing with the Commonwealth. Aside from Carol (Melissa McBride), Daryl is the only survivor from season 1 still present in season 11. That said, The Walking Dead season 11 officially wrapped filming on all 24 episodes on March 31, 2022, so the series is fast approaching its end. Now Reedus has shared another very Daryl experience from that final day.
In an interview with People, Reedus talks about taking home his Walking Dead costume on the final day of filming. According to the 53-year-old actor, when everyone was hugging, crying, and saying goodbye, he simply left set without changing and drove home. Aside from memorabilia that has been inducted into the Smithsonian Museum, Reedus also has “all the other vests” and about eight crossbows. Read the full quote below:
“I walked out with my entire outfit. I just, I didn’t change clothes. I was hugging people and crying and saying goodbye to everybody that I just ended up driving home in my outfit. So I have all of it…[I have] all the other vests — and I think, all the other crossbows. I think I have like eight crossbows now, which is crazy.”
Although the flagship series is coming to an end, The Walking Dead universe will continue. Like Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: The World Beyond, multiple new spinoffs have been announced, including Isle of the Dead, featuring Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and Tales of the Walking Dead. A spinoff following Daryl will be set in Europe, though it has yet to receive a release date or a title, and it’s more than unclear how it will play into The Walking Dead’s ending. This means that the final day Reedus speaks about wasn’t his last as Daryl, but it still marks the end of an era. It’s no wonder he got so emotional he didn’t stop to take his costume off.
Hopefully, Daryl’s story will overlap/tie into Rick and Michonne’s future moving forward. It’s not a stretch to say Daryl’s upcoming spinoff and those long-awaited Rick Grimes movies take away from the finality of The Walking Dead’s last season; as long as the main characters’ stories continue, it won’t feel like it’s over from an audience perspective. However, in terms of the entire cast and crew, things will change immensely behind the scenes. In the above interview, Reedus speaks about being the first person to give a speech on the last day, saying how much he will miss the people he’s worked with for the last 12 years. Before The Walking Dead, Reedus was best known for his role as Murphy MacManus in The Boondock Saints. Now, he’s one of the most recognizable stars in the world all thanks to Daryl Dixon, a character that has very much been written for him, as is evidenced by his actions on his last day.
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