The Walking Dead lead Norman Reedus, a mainstay of the zombie drama and its longest tenured star alongside Melissa McBride, jokes he will "burn down" the set if Daryl Dixon is killed off. Reedus, now first billed, passed Lincoln for most episode appearances in Season 9 episode "Chokepoint," aired after Lincoln exited the television series. Following Lincoln's decision to step away from the television show to spend more time with family overseas — the star's break will end when he reprises the Rick Grimes role in the first-ever Walking Dead feature film planned for theatrical release — Reedus has said he intends to stay on The Walking Dead through the very end.
"I'll burn down that building," Reedus said with a laugh on Conan when asked how he might feel if he's the latest cast member to be killed off The Walking Dead. "[I'll be there] every day with a lighter."
Reedus previously warned he'd "burn down that whole studio if they got rid of me," telling ET Canada he "doesn't have any plans" to exit the show like Lincoln or Danai Gurira, whose Michonne will be the next major departure when she exits in Season 10 episode 13, "What We Become."
Beth (Emily Kinney) once told Daryl he would be the "last man standing," a prediction Reedus hopes proves true.
"I always said I wanted to just walk off into the sunset with a dog, but now so many people are doing that, that I don't know. I don't know how I'd want to die," Reedus said. "I don't want to die ever, so I don't want to put it out there. I don't want to give anyone any ideas."
Executive producer and TWD chief content officer Scott Gimple is on record saying the main show can endure for at least 20 seasons, but Reedus says an eventual endgame would prevent the fan-favorite television series from becoming "watered down."
"I started the show and I'd like to bookend the show. I'd like to be there when it ends. I just don't know when the endgame is," Reedus said in a 2019 interview. "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. 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."