The finale of The Walking Dead wrapped up 11 years of drama and stories that captivated pop culture, with more on the way with spin-offs and other shows already on the air like Fear The Walking Dead and Tales of The Walking Dead.
While the ending sealed the fate of several characters, including Khary Payton’s Ezekiel becoming the new leader of the Commonwealth, that wasn’t always the plan. Showrunner Angela Kang and final director Greg Nicotero spoke with entertainment weekly and explained that there were actually alternate routes for some characters.
Bringing up the idea of who would lead the Commonwealth, he went through a handful of ideas before Ezekiel was chosen. “We talked about maybe Mercer becoming that person. We talked about maybe Carol becoming that person, maybe Maggie becoming that person,” Kang said. “And at the end of the day, we settled on Ezekiel because it seemed like Ezekiel is inherently a leader, and he’s survived a lot. And he’s a very, very community-focused type of leader.”
Another big change from the ending was that Carol was originally going to travel with Daryl at the end, but had to be pieced together when actress Melissa McBride announced she wouldn’t be joining Norman Reedus in his spin-off last April.
“We had always planned that the two of them would ride together. In the original version, they would have gotten on the bike and pointed to the west and then turned aside,” Kang continued. “Then it turns out that he’s leaving and she’s there to support him because there’s no anger or anything between them about it. It’s just that he’s going on a mission, and she’s on a different mission right now.”
According to Kang, the collective desire of Reedus and McBride was to keep it really simple and emotional. So his final goodbye was rewritten in a way that reflects that.
The Daryl spinoff series will play out with Reedus’ titular Dixon finding himself transported across the Atlantic to France and a whole new world of terror awaiting him and his team.
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