The Walking Dead

Walking Dead Teases Leah Joining Carol & Daryl Spinoff

Does the Walking Dead season 11, episode 9 tease Lynn Collins' Leah for an appearance in AMC's upcoming Daryl and Carol spinoff series?

The Walking Dead’s upcoming Daryl & Carol spinoff might’ve just found a new addition in Lynn Collins’ Leah. AMC have axed The Walking Dead at 11 seasons, but the franchise is apparently only just getting started, with multiple spinoffs and movies in the works, as well as a future full of fast zombies and French scientists set up by Walking Dead: World Beyond. One project already in development for The Walking Dead’s post-season 11 slate is a sequel spinoff starring Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon and Melissa McBride’s Carol Peletier. Details remain few, but the series will likely take its starring duo away from whatever remains of Alexandria, and out into the wider apocalypse.

Though both characters have been fighting zombies since The Walking Dead first aired in 2010, Daryl’s romantic endeavors have only come into focus relatively recently. The Walking Dead season 10’s “pandemic” episodes revealed how Daryl met a mysterious woman (well, her dog, technically) whilst searching for Rick during season 9’s time skip. Eventually learning her name, Daryl and Leah enjoyed a romantic post-apocalypse tryst in the forest, but searching for Rick took priority, and their relationship ended before it truly began. The star-crossed lovers reunite in The Walking Dead season 11 – albeit not exactly under ideal circumstances. It’s always a little awkward introducing friends to a new partner, but Leah is revealed as one of the Reapers who destroyed Maggie’s Meridian community and killed most of her followers.

The Walking Dead season 11, episode 9 (“No Other Way”) hints that Leah’s story may soon cross over into Daryl & Carol’s future spinoff. As the battle between Alexandria and the Reapers intensifies, Maggie decides the time for diplomacy has passed, and takes it upon herself to slaughter the remnants of Pope’s people. Leah slips away with only minor wounds and, inevitably, it’s Daryl who catches up to her. Rather than drag the last Reaper back to Maggie, however, Daryl lets his old flame run free, warning her to stay out of trouble and lamenting how badly things turned out. The Walking Dead puts such effort into keeping Leah alive, producers must surely have future plans for Lynn Collins’ character.

But those plans aren’t necessarily for The Walking Dead season 11. As “No Other Way” draws to a close, the narrative leaps forward 6 months, and focus turns squarely onto Commonwealth matters. The Walking Dead’s immediate future (i.e. the only future it’s got) will be busy with Pamela Milton, Mercer’s military, and Lance Hornsby’s political maneuvering, and it’s difficult to see how Leah could factor into that equation, especially with The Walking Dead’s remaining episode count now perilously low. Leah may not find a home in The Walking Dead season 11, but she’d be perfect for the forthcoming Daryl & Carol series.

Whittling down to just two lead characters as opposed to an entire ensemble, logic would suggest The Walking Dead’s Daryl & Carol project will be a more introspective, personal affair, which digs down deep into these two zombie apocalypse stalwarts. Sure, we’ve been following the characters for over a decade, but since neither is especially good at sharing feelings there’s still plenty to explore. Bringing back Lynn Collins’ Leah is the perfect way to explore Daryl Dixon’s character. The exes plainly have unfinished business – both from their original romance in the woods, and now because Daryl’s people killed her family. Keeping Leah alive, The Walking Dead season 11 brings no sense of resolution or closure to their story. Daryl and Leah either need to bury the hatchet and resume what they started back in The Walking Dead’s post-Rick time jump, or she must return hungry for revenge and totally irredeemable. The Walking Dead has more pressing matters to attend to than Leah in its final season… but isn’t that what spinoffs are for?

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