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In the series finale, both Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) share an emotional goodbye, a scene that featured the only two remaining original Season 1 characters on the show getting to talk for an extended period. In the scene, Daryl — who is readying to depart for his own journey — says he wishes that Carol was joining him, to which Carol says she knows, before calling Daryl her best friend and the pair expressing their mutual love for each other before Daryl departs.
Speaking to Deadline on the moment, Kang — who has served as a writer and producer for The Walking Dead, as well as being its showrunner for the final three seasons — was asked about the moment. For some time, Kang said, the intial plan was to have Carol ride off with Daryl, but after McBride left the series in April, things had to change.
“Daryl and Carol, obviously, there were some changes that happened really late in the game in terms of like, what was happening with the spin-off,” said Kang. “And so, it’s a little different than we initially imagined, up until very, very close to the end of this. We thought she was going to ride off with him. And so, we chose to just make it about they’ve each chosen for their various reasons to go one way or another, and that relationship isn’t over, which is true. This is not just something we’re saying in the past. That story has to resolve itself.”
While it’s unknown if McBride will ever join the planned spin-off, the final scene between the two did seem to hint that they would meet again in the future, something Kang herself acknowledged.
“Yeah, and at least now that felt like the best way to kind of deal with their story because we know that it’s like they are going in separate directions, but they’ll eventually come together at some point,” Kang said.
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As for now, fans will have to wait to see if McBride ever returns as Carol. In the meantime, The Walking Dead universe will continue to grow, with a planned Rick and Michonne spin-off series in the works, the anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead continuing, and The Walking Dead: Dead City also in the works, which is set to feature the duo of Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan reprising their roles as Maggie and Negan.