Even now, almost a decade after the show’s debut, and Norman Reedus’ character is still regarded as a bona fide mainstay. And while that may be true, one can’t help but wonder: why hasn’t Daryl indulged in a romantic relationship while roaming the zombie-ridden wasteland of post-apocalyptic America?
It likely has something to do with the whole ‘zombie-ridden wasteland,’ but when asked straight-up about Daryl’s love life (or lack thereof), series showrunner Angela Kang told Entertainment Weekly that Norman Reedus’ fan-favorite is “just not wired that way.” Mostly due to his traumatic past.
Daryl’s such an interesting character that way because in some ways, when it comes to romantic relationships, he’s not a person that I think trusts easily, and a lot of that has to do with his backstory, which is filled with so much trauma. He was physically abused, as well as in other ways. There’s sensitivity there for him. And I think he’s also just a person who it’s hard for him to trust anybody enough to connect with them really, really deeply. It’s a long, slow process for him in a lot of ways to get into any kind of a romantic thing, whereas I think most people these days think of it as just like, ‘Oh, you could have fun with somebody, and you can have sex with them and then it doesn’t have to mean anything.’
MORE FROM THE WEB
For years, there’s been a deep-lying connection between Daryl and Carol, and a recent scene in The Walking Dead‘s 10th season has prompted new discussions about the possibility of Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride’s respective characters falling for one another. But The Walking Dead is a complicated show. And Daryl Dixon is a complicated character. So when EW continued to probe about Daryl potentially finding love in season 10, the AMC showrunner replied as so:
Daryl’s just not wired that way, and that tracks with conversations that Norman [Reedus] and I have had. He doesn’t attach to people lightly enough that he can give it a chance easily, you know? So I think that that’s really a big part of it. But certainly from Carol’s perspective, she cares about him so deeply and people certainly see that relationship in all kinds of different ways. But what felt real for us is they had this whole conversation about we’re best friends and she’s in this mode where she just wants revenge. And there’s an aspect of her that wants to make sure that no matter what happens in all of this and what happens to her, that Daryl has other people to lean on and rely on besides her because what if something happens to her?
There’s a lot of friendship psychology and love, the care that they have for each other, and she sees that Connie’s a good person, he seems to connect to her and he doesn’t connect to very many people at all. It’s like she wants to make sure that he’s not going to just kind of drift off and lose that community, like he has before. She was the one thing that kept him tethered to the group when he was off as a mountain man in the years that we jumped.
In short: don’t hold your breath for Daryl Dixon to suddenly shed all his character traits for a shot at true love. Doing so would only be a disservice to one of The Walking Dead‘s last true OGs, and we’re inclined to agree with Kang when she says that Daryl “isn’t wired like that.” In the zombie-ridden wasteland of post-apocalyptic America, survival is paramount.
Expect The Walking Dead season 10 to continue this weekend with “Open Your Eyes,” which will surely explore Negan’s ongoing adventure with The Whisperers.