Fans of AMC's The Walking Dead rejoice because actor Norman Reedus says he has no plans to leave his part as Daryl Dixon on the hit zombie TV show.
First appearing in the third episode back in 2010, Reedus' long-haired hillbilly has become a firm favorite among fans of The Walking Dead. Armed with his trusty crossbow and usually found on the back of a motorbike, Daryl is the shaggy loner with a heart beating beneath his rugged exterior. In fact, Reedus' part has become so loved in the role, it has prompted the social media slogan, "If Daryl dies we riot." But, is that day just around the corner?
Speaking to EW, Reedus thankfully confirmed that Daryl will be there until the very end if he has anything to do with it:
“I love being on the show. I could do this until it ended. There’s part of me that really wants to bookend the show. I started the show and I want to end the show.”
As for his reasons for sticking around (apart from the giant paycheck), Reedus said that he loves the fact he has grown up alongside the audience over the past eight seasons:
“It’s not like a movie where it wraps up in an hour and a half. People have seen me and Andy and Melissa grow over what will be a nine-year period when the show picks back up. You’ve seen my hair on my chin turning gray! I’ve never done a job like this where the fans are watching this character grow in real time. You very rarely get an opportunity to do that. It’s a real blessing to be able to be part of something that big and has that sort of longevity. I’m still loving it.”
While AMC plans to run the show for decades, there are conflicting rumors that The Walking Dead may only have a few seasons left. Either way, Reedus is trying to make sure he is a part of the series swansong - whenever it might be.
These days, Reedus is one of only five stars in season 8 who has been there from the very beginning. Andrew Lincoln, Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, and Reedus all joined in season 1, but with both Riggs and James leaving before the current run of episodes is up, it leaves just three stars flying the flag from the early days. Also, it is interesting to note that because Daryl was created for TV, Robert Kirkman's comic series of the same name offers no clues on how/when he could shuffle off this mortal coil. In contrast, Lincoln's Rick is still very much the leader of the comics, while McBride's Carol died way back in Issue #42, but as we know, anything could happen to anyone!
Over the years, several stars have left the show in a body bag to make way for other projects - most recently, Sonequa Martin-Green's Sasha was doomed to an early grave so she could play Michael Burnham on CBS show Star Trek: Discovery. While it is good news that Reedus doesn't intend on going anywhere, the decision is ultimately up to the writers. This has become something of a sticking point in season 8, with Riggs' father claiming that Carl Grimes was killed off without his say-so.
However, with Daryl being such a major part of the show and its fanbase, showrunner Scott Gimple would likely face an even bigger backlash than the Carl situation if he sends Daryl packing. So, for the time being, it looks like this easy rider can continue his role as Rick's right-hand man and reminding us why we fell in love with The Walking Dead in the first place.