Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon has a “meaty” story in The Walking Dead season 9, but the series might not yet tackle Daryl’s elusive love life.
“What I will say, is that we will be telling a great story with Daryl this season,” new showrunner Angela Kang told TV Line when asked if the upcoming season will explore Daryl’s non-existent sex life. “He has some really meaty material coming up, so Daryl fans will get their fill.”
While the show will delve even further into the survivors’ interpersonal relationships, that won’t always take the form of romantic entanglements.
“The show deals a lot with the bonds between the core characters that have formed over the course of years. There is love between them,” Kang explained, “but these are also complex relationships. They’re family.”
One such complex relationship is the long-running bond between Daryl and Carol (Melissa McBride), who has since relocated from Alexandria to the Kingdom — the domain overseen by the theatrical King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), who has supplanted Daryl as Carol’s leading potential love interest.
Daryl and Carol’s relationship, platonic or romantic, will be addressed in season 9, coming at a time when Reedus is queued up to take over as lead following the looming departure of Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln.
“It is whatever. It is what you see. There’s so many projections on their relationship that it is whatever it is to whomever is watching,” McBride told ComicBook.com of the seven-year-plus ‘Caryl’ shipping.
“And what frustrates viewers with some of the Caryl, C-A-R-Y-L, fans that get frustrated because they want that confirmation. They want the kiss. They want something, and they get frustrated, and they get upset because they don't have it. But it what it is, and they obviously love one another. They obviously care very deeply for one another. He's the most important person to her, and I don't know what to say about it anymore.”1comments
A first look at Daryl in season 9 dropped Friday showed the stoic bowman looking unchanged, same style and scraggy facial hair, but Rick’s exit could signal a major shift for Daryl: with Reedus having to now pull leading man duties, abandoning his status as longtime right-hand-man, the character will be thrust into a new status quo when he now has to carry more than just his trademark bow.
The Walking Dead will premiere its first footage this Friday at San Diego Comic-Con. Season 9 debuts this October on AMC.