Daryl Dixon has come a long way from not even initially existing in the Walking Dead universe. You can thank Norman Reedus for that. The actor took a new character and turned it into such a fan favorite that he’s now got his own spinoff series. Reedus and the show’s producers met with the press at New York Comic Con (NYCC 2023) on Thursday to talk about the show, its direction, and reinventing the younger Dixon brother in a whole new way.

Much credit goes to showrunner David Zabel. He and his advance team did the lion’s share of the legwork to bring Daryl DIxon to life. Setting the show in France, they both strove to maintain a necessary degree of familiarity while creating something new. Notwithstanding, they also needed to create something “wholly distinct” from its source material. The French locale was key component of that. The producers took great care to avoid making a “tourist version” of the show, they explained to the NYCC 2023 press. As Reedus joked, they didn’t want people in “berets running around with baguettes and poodles.”

The show needed to be steeped in realism. Utilizing France’s rich history, including using authentic, French actors and the French language as much as possible, certainly achieved that goal.

A whole new Daryl Dixon transcends The Walking Dead [NYCC 2023]

Key to the series was “stripping [Daryl Dixon] raw,” Reedus informed us. Executive Producer Greg Nicotero remembered one scene from the show’s first season that brought that home. “Norman stood on the beach, looking at a grave,” a “breathtaking scene” in which the history (of the location  was “palpable.”

In that scene, Nicotera tells us, Daryl Dixon begins to finally “understand making sacrifices for people you don’t know.”

Daryl Dixon; The Walking Dead; NYCC 2023
(L-R) Executive Producer Greg Nicotera, Showrunner David Zabel, Executive Producer Norman Reedus, and Chief Content Officer Scott Gimple discuss Daryl Dixon at NYCC 2023.

It is that growth of character that has resonated with the show’s producers, actors, and fans alike. This is a whole new Daryl Dixon than we’ve seen in The Walking Dead. For Reedus, it’s all about his character “finding himself again, and becoming a man again in a whole new way.”

We’ll get to see more of the character’s growth in Season 2, which AMC+ announced just prior to NYCC 2023. The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is about midway through its sophomore season’s production. The show returns to AMC+ sometime in 2024.