Norman Reedus has addressed Melissa McBride’s exit from “The Walking Dead” spinoff that was set to focus on their fan-favorite characters Daryl and Carol. The spinoff was originally announced in September 2020 with McBride and Reedus headlining, but AMC confirmed on April 27 that McBride was leaving the project and that the series would now focus solely on Reedus’ character. McBride dropped out of the spinoff because relocating to Europe to shoot the show proved “logistically untenable” for her, AMC said in a statement.

“Twelve years is a grueling schedule,” Reedus said on “The Tonight Show,” referencing McBride playing her “Walking Dead” character since the show’s beginning in 2010. “She wanted to take some time off and she’s doing that. She deserves it.”

“I imagine those characters are going to meet back up at some point, and they might even meet up with some other characters down the road,” Reedus added. “In the meantime, [AMC] was like, ‘Hey, you wanna go on a mission?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, let’s go on a mission.'”

After McBride’s exit from the spinoff was confirmed, some “Walking Dead” fans speculated on social media that Reedus was behind the decision to shoot the spinoff in Europe, thus indirectly causing McBride to drop out of the show. Reedus and McBride’s co-star Jeffrey Dean Morgan spoke out against fans turning on Reedus.

“Some of you have gone WAY too far,” Morgan wrote on Twitter. “TOXIC. Attacking [Norman Reedus] for crap he has NOTHING to do with? Melissa made a call that was hers alone. She wants/needs a break. Respect that. Factors involved that are nobody’s business. Norm, who’s given more than anyone to you all. Just SHITTY.”

Morgan added, “Norman had nothing to do with picking location. That decision is all about story, ideas… MONEY. That’s studio/network. Not actors. We can say yes and do, or no, and not do… MAYBE. SOMETIMES. If we’re lucky and don’t have contract yet. Rarely does actor have that power.”

AMC’s statement on McBride’s exit reads: “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 spin-off focused on the Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier characters, which will be set and filmed in Europe this summer and premiere next year. 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 Walking Dead” is currently on a hiatus from airing its 11th and final season. The final batch of episodes will debut on AMC this fall.