'The Walking Dead': Jeffrey Dean Morgan Blasts 'Toxic' Fans for 'Attacking' Norman Reedus as Melissa McBride Exits Spinoff

Jeffrey Dean Morgan is coming to his The Walking Dead co-star Norman Reedus' defense following news that Melissa McBride has exited the planned Daryl and Carol spinoff series. Reedus, who has starred as fan-favorite character Daryl Dixon since the show's inception, has been the target of fan anger ever since news of McBride's exit dropped earlier this week, prompting Morgan to slam the "toxic" attacks.

In a Friday morning tweet, the Negan actor wrote that some fans "have gone WAY too far," dubbing them and their behavior "TOXIC." He went on to write, "Attacking norm for crap he has NOTHING to do with?" Morgan asked fans to "accept" that McBride, also a star since Season 1, "made a call that was hers alone. She wants/needs a break... Factors involved that are nobody's business. Norm, who's given more than anyone to you all. Just S-y."

At this time, neither Reedus nor McBide have publicly commented on the major shakeup of the spinoff that has been in development since at least September 2020. Several media outlets, including The Hollywood Reporter, reported Wednesday that McBride departed the untitled spinoff. AMC said in a statement her exit from the project was due to logistical reasons, as the flagship series films in Georgia whereas the new spinoff was set to film in Europe.

"Melissa McBride has given life to one of the most interesting, real, human and popular characters in The Walking Dead Universe. Unfortunately, she is no longer able to participate in the previously announced spinoff focused on the Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier characters, which will be set and filmed in Europe this summer and premiere next year," the statement read. "Relocating to Europe became logistically untenable for Melissa at this time. We know fans will be disappointed by this news, but The Walking Dead Universe continues to grow and expand in interesting ways and we very much hope to see Carol again in the near future."

The untitled project was set to focus on Daryl and Carol, fan-favorite characters from the start. Details about the show were kept under wraps, though Reedus previously teased that it would have "a very different look" and a "very different feel." The spinoff would have marked the latest for the franchise, Fear the Walking Dead currently in its seventh season and the 20-episode limited series The Walking Dead: World Beyond having aired in 2020 and 2021. AMC has also ordered the anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead as well as a spinoff starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan and Lauren Cohan's Maggie.

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The future of the Daryl-Carol spinoff remains unclear at this time. Although McBride has exited the project, and The Walking Dead is set to conclude its 11-season run in the coming months, she may still be tied to the franchise. THR, citing sources, reported other opportunities for McBride and Carol are being discussed.