Can You Watch the ‘Daryl Dixon’ Spin-off if You Haven’t Seen ‘The Walking Dead’?

Is The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon suitable for newcomers to the franchise?

by Mike Bedard
Image: AMC

The Walking Dead remains a pop cultural phenomenon, especially if the onslaught of spin-off series is any indication. And one of the best creations to come out of the zombie series is Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus. He wasn’t in the original comics, but he instantly became a fan-favorite character thanks to his gruff attitude and cool demeanor. The mainline show may have ended, but Daryl has gotten a second life in the form of his own show, The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon. But the question remains: do viewers need to have watched the original series to understand what’s going on in the spin-off?

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is a Fresh Start

Daryl may have been part of the main group of over a decade on The Walking Dead, but he has a brand new storyline for his spin-off. Daryl’s by himself this time around as he washes ashore of France, the origin of the zombie virus. Throughout the new series, he has to figure out how he got there and what he’s supposed to do as he attempts to find a way home. It’s completely independent of anything viewers would have seen on The Walking Dead, so it’s not essential to watch the full series before diving into the new one.

Related: The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Release Date Schedule (2023): When to Expect New Episodes

With that being said, there are bound to be components of Daryl Dixon that reference events from The Walking Dead. It may be prudent to at least watch the final few episodes (or seasons if you have the time) of The Walking Dead just so you understand Daryl’s mindset going into the new show. Then again, if you’re really pressed for time, you can probably find a YouTube video that summarizes Daryl’s main plot points in The Walking Dead so that you know what he’s about.

Ultimately, The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon represents a new start. It may be a good way for people to enter The Walking Dead franchise who don’t feel like going through the original 11 seasons. Plus, there’s bound to be ample zombie action so even if you don’t get all of the references, there’s still plenty to enjoy.

- This article was updated on September 11th, 2023

About The Author

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Mike Bedard has written tens upon thousands of articles online in all kinds of spaces. Some of his previous writing credits include Cracked, Ranker, and StudioBinder.