Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) wasn’t an original character in The Walking Dead comics, so unlike some of the actors on the AMC show Norman had nothing to base his character off of, but he wasn’t all that fond of what the writers had initially planned for the younger Dixon brother.
In an interview with Men’s Journal, Norman recounts how he helped push his TV counterpart in a different, and arguably more compelling direction.”It was written very 'F— you, f— you, f— you'” he revealed of early drafts of Daryl. “I said, 'I don't want to do that. I don't want to take drugs. I want to have grown up in that environment and then been embarrassed of it.’”
Ultimately, Daryl morphed into a character who was less like his ignorant, racist brother Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) and more like a confused young guy who had never really made much of himself pre-apocalypse, and certainly didn’t want or expect people to rely on him as they gradually came to do.
At the start of Season 4, Daryl was seen as Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) right-hand man, protecting and defending the prison and those he cared about. We got our first glimpse of post-prison Daryl in Season 4, Episode 10: “Inmates,” and he was nothing like the colorful character we’d come to know and love. As Norman explained in a behind-the-scenes video, “He’s lost this group of people that believed in him, that he believed in, and he’s sort of at this place where he’s like, ‘What’s the point?’”
Even show executive producer and comic book creator Robert Kirkman noted that post-prison Daryl is in a bad place. “Daryl is absolutely devastated by this,” the TWD mastermind declared. In earlier interviews Robert had also noted that Daryl would be struggling between his pre-apocalypse self and post-apocalypse self, and we’re praying that he doesn’t revert back to a Merle clone, especially given all of the indigenous changes Norman has made to his now-beloved character.
Are you surprised that earlier versions of Daryl were much rougher around the edges? Tell us your thoughts below!
The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.
Source: Men’s Journal,