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The Walking Dead Just Revealed an Unexpected Detail About Daryl’s Past


It turns out the French setting for The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon was more meaningful than we realized. Showrunner David Zabel explains.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon _ Season 1, Episode 6
Photo: Emmanuel Guimier | AMC

This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon finale.

The mystery at the center of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon can be succinctly summed up as “why France?”

After 11 seasons of the flagship series taking place in the American Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, why did the first episode of spinoff open with the titular character drifting ashore on the beaches of Marseille? The first season’s fifth and penultimate episode answers that question to a certain extent. Daryl encountered some trouble in the U.S., was imprisoned on a French research vessel, and then threw himself overboard to avoid an amped up walker, eventually washing up in southern France.

While that explains the literal narrative reasons for Daryl’s French journey, it doesn’t quite capture the thematic reasons. What can The Walking Dead accomplish with the major character of Daryl Dixon in France that it couldn’t accomplish in North America? Well, in the season 1 finale “Coming Home” we finally get our answer. The Dixon family has a tragic history in Western Europe that Daryl needs to grapple with.

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