The upcoming spin-off of “The Walking Dead” featuring Daryl Dixon is raising eyebrows due to its striking resemblance to “The Last of Us,” another popular zombie-themed story. This isn’t the first time “The Walking Dead” has been accused of borrowing elements from other works and using ignorance as an excuse.
In “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon,” the story unfolds after the original series’ finale, with Daryl finding himself washed up on the shores of France, where the zombie outbreak originated. His mission is to escort a young girl who may hold the key to curing the zombie virus and saving humanity, a premise eerily reminiscent of Joel’s journey in “The Last of Us.”
Executive producer Greg Nicotero admitted his surprise when “The Last of Us” premiered with a similar premise while they were already deep into production on Daryl’s spin-off. However, this excuse is reminiscent of the one used by “Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman when his comic was accused of sharing similarities with another zombie story.
This isn’t the first time “The Walking Dead” has been accused of drawing inspiration from other zombie narratives, approaching the line of plagiarism. The series famously opened with Rick Grimes awakening in an abandoned hospital, a scene almost identical to the beginning of the movie “28 Days Later.” Kirkman used a similar excuse, claiming he hadn’t seen “28 Days Later” until after “The Walking Dead” was in print. Therefore, Daryl Dixon’s similarities with “The Last of Us” are just a continuation of this pattern.
While Kirkman’s excuse might hold water regarding “28 Days Later,” Nicotero’s explanation falls short. “The Last of Us” existed as a video game for a decade before being adapted for television, giving the creators of Daryl Dixon ample time to familiarize themselves with one of the most acclaimed video games ever made.
At first glance, “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” appears to mirror “The Last of Us” closely. Both feature gruff antiheroes navigating post-apocalyptic landscapes to protect a special child who could save humanity. However, there are notable differences, such as the setting – “The Last of Us” in the United States and the spin-off in Paris. Additionally, while Joel has a clear backstory, Daryl will uncover his past as he traverses zombie-infested France.