The Walking Dead has created one of the most-shipped characters of all-time in Daryl Dixon. The popular character portrayed by Norman Reedus since the show's first season has been paired with many characters by fans -- including Beth, Carol, and Connie, over the years. Still, he has never found himself in a relationship with anyone. In fact, his sexuality has become a topic of conversation in general, as he shows no indication of being interested in anyone, at all. Now, The Walking Dead's showrunner Angela Kang has explained why the Daryl character just does not do relationships.
"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," Kang tells EW. "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.'"
It's an interesting argument Kang presents. While it might be difficult for Daryl to dive into a relationship with Connie under the circumstances of her being newer to the group and him being reluctant to trust, a relationship with Carol could have been a possibility by now given the proximity of their relationship. Still, Daryl doesn't seem to be looking at anyone, despite many of the characters looking at him and Connie, something Connie, Kelly, and Carol all seem to be acknowledging.
"Daryl’s just not wired that way, and that tracks with conversations that Norman [Reedus] and I have had," Kang explains. "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 Darryl has other people to lean on and rely on besides her because what if something happens to her?"
Instead, Daryl seems more interested in going the platonic route, at least that's the story Kang is telling. "There’s a lot of friendship psychology and love, the care that they have for each other, and she 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," Kang said. "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."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC.