There are a number of reasons why Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon is the best character on the AMC’s hit zombie drama The Walking Dead, despite being one of the only core members of the group of survivors who doesn’t appear in Robert Kirkman’s comics that serve as the source material. As a character, he has spent most of his life fending for himself, living off the land, skills that have served him well in a world overrun by walkers where things like grocery stores are a thing of the past. But these survival tools are not unique to Daryl, it’s something Reedus shares with his on screen alter ego.
Talking to GQ recently, Reedus revealed that being on the hit show has had a serious impact on his life, though not in the way you might expect. Before the series he was always kind of an outdoors type, but that got cranked up a notch, actually a few notches. Like now he lives in the woods, seriously, among other things. And, as he was only supposed to be around for a short time, though his immediately popularity saw to it that he stayed around, it’s only getting more pronounced.
I think I was very nervous when I started, and I’m more confident now. I think the character was more nervous than he is now. I mean, I have crossbows and compound bows and shoot them now. When I started, I was living in Chinatown, and I was terrified of bugs. Now I have tick bites all over me and I’ll just, whatever. So, yeah, there’s certain similarities.
As you probably know, at least if you watch The Walking Dead, Daryl is fond of riding his motorcycle through the zombie-infested post-apocalyptic wastes, a passion that Reedus shares with his character. He says, “through these little two-lane roads with cows going by and the sun coming up or going down. And it’s really great, you know?” Can’t you just imagine seeing him riding a chopper up and down the country roads with a crossbow strapped to his back?
So Reedus is gradually morphing into his Walking Dead character, and we’ll see how this continues when the series returns for season 5 on Sunday, October 12. As you may recall, Daryl, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), and many other members of their crew reunited, only to almost immediately be trapped in an old train car at Terminus. Safe haven my ass.
We don’t know a ton about what the upcoming season will entail, but we have ideas. Given the cliffhanger nature of the season 4 finale, the show is going to hit the ground running, apparently with a scene that is so shocking it even surprised the characters who appear in it when they finally saw it edited together.