The actor, who played Daryl Dixon in the series, appeared in every season of the drama, which drew to a close on Sunday (21 November).
In the show’s conclusion, which will be followed up with several spin-offs, the characters all came together for one final showdown to save the Commonwealth from a horde of walkers.
With Governor Pamela Milton (Laila Robins) set on sacrificing her community to save herself, Daryl delivers a speech that namechecks the show for the second time in its 12-year history.
“Stop! What the hell are you doing?” he asks Pamela. “We all deserve better than this. You built this place to be like the old world – that was the f***in’ problem.”
Pamela replies: “If I open the gates, the dead will get in, not just the living,” to which Daryl says: “If you don’t, you’re going to lose anything anyway. We got one enemy. We ain’t the walking dead.”
While viewers have been praising the fist-pump moment on social media, Reedus himself wasn’t so enthused by it.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Reedus said: “I didn’t want to say it, I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t want to say it, and they kind of talked me into saying it.”
Reedus said his hesitation came from the fact that Andrew Lincoln’s character, Rick Grimes, first namechecked the show in season five.
“But, if you remember way back when Rick says it, he was like, ‘We are not the walking dead,’ and he made such a big thing of it that I was like, ‘Well, I can’t make a big thing of it now because that’s what Andy did way back then.’
Reedus continued: “So I kind of just incorporated it into the dialogue, and I didn’t want to shout it from the rooftops, because that’s what he did. So I had to figure out a way to just make it part of the sentence without making it a poster.”
Elsewhere, the finale killed off a main character at the actor’s request.
Daryl will receive his own spin-off, Daryl Dixon, which will be set in Paris, while Maggie and Negan will front their own New York-set show named Dead City.
Meanwhile, Lincoln and Danai Gurira will return for a miniseries, which was teased at the end of the finale and will be titled Rick and Michonne.
The Walking Dead is available to stream on Star on Disney Plus now.