So no, they weren't waiting for Series 2.
The Walking Dead Mystery Minis have been going along pretty well, with (so far) four series of figures. For 2017's release, however, they've done something different: rather than a mix of characters from one season of the TV show, they've done their first "In Memorium" series, honoring the characters the show has killed off. Well, some of them - George RR Martin doesn't have anything on Robert Kirkman, and this series only has 20 figures in it, so they had to pick and choose.
One of the common figures, available in a 1:12 ratio and thus in every case that ships, is Merle Dixon. Dead Merle Dixon. Reanimated Merle Dixon. Walker Merle Dixon. Originally introduced as a drug-dealing white supremacist, Merle softened slightly by the time he returned in Season 3 (because you can't make people sympathize with a character who's constantly klansplaining about why Confederate monuments are good, actually), but he was still a total dick who only barely managed to redeem himself right at the end, and then only because he was afraid of the Governor. His attempt at being an assassin didn't work out so great, and as punishment, the Governor shot him in the chest and didn't destroy his brain, so he'd come back to life.
Taking a cue from what they did with their 2014 Game of Thrones SDCC exclusive Mystery Minis, Funko has done the In Memorium figures in grayscale. They're not truly black-and-white, but rather a desaturated version of their normal colors - and since Merle wasn't exactly flashy to begin with, he doesn't look that different. The sculpting on these figures has come a long way in four years, so this toy has a better likeness than the original. He has a stuporous, unsteady posture, his shirt is half untucked, and there's a hole in the back of his shirt, showing where the bullet passed through. The blood on his hands, face, knees and chest is a dark red, suiting the style of the figures.
Walker Merle is a cooler figure than living Merle was, and the colorscheme doesn't make him look too out of place as a zombie. If you want one, he's in the bottom row of boxes, on the left, in the middle.
Wait... they CAN'T do any characters from the comics? So who does that leave for this line? Merle and a bunch of generic zombies?
So far, yeah. But if the show introduces more of its own characters, they're up for grabs...
Wow... that just seems like bad business. I mean sure, Merle is a badass on the show but it's not like he's a main character. And if you don't at least have a Rick or even Glenn to pair him up against then he's just a generic zombie killer. I'm all for cool stuff from the shows we love but this line just seems like a failure waiting to happen.
Well the good news is Series 2 has lifted that restriction - it's got Rick, Carl, Michonne and the Governor, so clearly the comic-based characters are now available...
From a quick glance it seems that you also get Daryl http://plasticandplush.com/images/2013/05/21/Funko-Walking-Dead-Minis-1.jpg and then a bunch of generic zombies