Norman Reedus suspects The Walking Dead will last for as long as the fans keep it alive.
“God, I don’t know. I was part of the beginning, so I hope to bookend the whole thing, just for that reason,” Reedus told TV Line at San Diego Comic-Con when asked how long he sees himself staying with the series headed into its tenth season.
“I’ve seen it adapt and I’ve seen it change, I’ve seen so many people go, I’ve seen great new characters like [Judith] come on. I’m a fan of the show as well, I like to have the inside ticket and watch from that point of view as well, so who knows? I mean, as long as there’s the zillion people outside Comic-Con screaming for us, I think we’ll keep going.”
Asked about Daryl’s longevity — he’s the last-surviving character from the freshman season still on the show, alongside co-star Melissa McBride’s Carol — Reedus had a less serious answer.
“I think that character adapts and aligns himself with strong people, and then when something bad happens, he just sort of pushes them out in front of them, sort of hides behind them. I mean, the whole thing with Rick on the bridge, that was supposed to be me. Then I was like, ‘Rick, why don’t you go check out that bridge?’ And then that happened,” Reedus joked of Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) apparent death in a bridge explosion.
“I don’t know, I mean, he’s an adapter.”
Negan star Jeffrey Dean Morgan had a more succinct answer: “Daryl dies, the fans riot, that’s how,” Morgan quipped.
Reedus previously admitted in a March interview he would only consider leaving TWD if “the show ever lost track of what it was.”
“There’s two feet on the ground, it’s the end of the world, you either fight for this cause or you runaway from this cause. But this is your chance to show who you would be in this situation,” Reedus said.
“I think that’s what viewers of The Walking Dead related to, ‘Oh if this happened, I’d do this.’ Sometimes it’s better to run than it is to fight, it’s your two feet on the ground, what are you going to do? When The Walking Dead loses that point of view, then I think it’ll fade into the ether.”
The star doesn’t know the franchise’s endgame, but he knows he wants to be there when it ends.
“I just don’t want the brand to get watered down too much. You got this goose that lays the golden egg, sooner or later you got to let the goose fly free. You don’t want to kill it,” Reedus said.
“I don’t know if that’ll happen, we’ve got a lot of good, creative people on the show, but if this show went on for 20 years, it would get watered down, there’s no way around it.”
Both Reedus and McBride in November signed sizable three-year extension deals with the option to appear outside the flagship television series, but it’s not yet known if the stars will join the Walking Dead movies headed to theaters.
The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres Sunday, October 6 on AMC.