Daryl Dixon is easily the most popular of the TV-original characters in The Walking Dead universe, with Norman Reedus arguably becoming the face of the franchise, following Andrew Lincoln’s exit a couple of seasons back. There’s a strong sense among fans, then, that while everyone else is in danger, Daryl is off-limits to Walkers and shock plot twists alike, destined always to make it out alive.
This was predicted by Beth Greene way back in season 4 episode “Still”, in which Maggie’s sister told Daryl “You’re gonna be the last man standing.” During a recent live Talking Dead reunion, actress Emily Kinney was asked whether she still stands by her character’s prediction about Daryl. Kinney revealed that she does, though that doesn’t mean some other characters aren’t just as durable.
“I do. I don’t know if he’ll be the only last man standing, but I definitely think he’s going to be one of the last men standing,” Kinney said on Talking Dead.
Kinney went on to recall how this line made her nervous at the time as she wondered if it was a hint that her own character was going to be killed off in the very next episode.
“I remember back when I say that to Daryl, that particular scene happens in a cabin in the woods, and we went out there to rehearse one day,” Kinney continued. “We were with Angela [Kang, now Walking Dead showrunner], who wrote that episode, and I remember in the van over, Norman just asking Angela, ‘What does that line mean? Is that foreshadowing my death?’… Is it saying, ‘You’re gonna die next episode?’ But I actually do think that [he’ll survive until the end].”
Kinney didn’t need to be worried in the short-term, however, as Beth went on to survive season 4. Unfortunately, she was eventually killed off in season 5. Beth later returned for a vocal cameo in the Rick Grimes exit episode in season 9.
In fact, it’s already been guaranteed that Daryl will live through the end of TWD, which concludes next year with its eleventh season. Reedus has already been confirmed to return for a spinoff series following Daryl and Melissa McBride’s Carol going on a road trip. Some have criticized AMC for announcing the spinoff so early, as it spoils that neither of these characters will die. However, Beth already told us in season 4 that Daryl was destined to survive.
The Walking Dead season 11 continues Sundays on AMC.