Norman Reedus’ Daryl is a “different dude” in The Walking Dead Season 10, where he looks to lessons learned from Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Hershel (Scott Wilson) as he continues on the path of a reluctant leader.
“Daryl is such a different character this year. It’s nice when he moves,” Reedus told The Hollywood Reporter during TWD’s Season 10 premiere. “The ghosts of the people who were here before him are weighing on his shoulders. He’s a different dude now. Alpha came to the door of the Hilltop, knocked on it, and asked to speak with the leader. I’m visiting, no one says anything, so I go, ‘Okay, I guess I’ll go talk to her.’ That’s not season five Daryl. Back then, Daryl would have said, ‘Whatever. Keep knocking.’ I find myself in all these situations thinking, ‘Hershel could have done this. Rick would have done that.’ There’s a lot of that this year.”
Bringing out another side of Daryl is romantic prospect Connie (Lauren Ridloff). Both Connie and sister Kelly (Angel Theory) communicate in sign language and, following their adventure together in the back half of Season 9, Daryl is picking up ASL to better communicate with Connie.
“I think it’s great that you see Daryl trying to learn new things and learn how to communicate,” Reedus told ComicBook.com at the premiere. “Both of those characters could definitely help us and so, you know, let’s communicate. And both those actresses are such good actresses, it’s fun. There’s been some ASL that I’ve messed up on set and said a dirty word here or there by accident and they’re like, ‘No,’ and I’m like, ‘What’d I do?’ And they’re like, ‘It’s down here, it’s not up here!’”
Daryl spends much of Season 10 partnered with “soulmate” Carol (Melissa McBride), says showrunner Angela Kang, who teases the longtime best friends share a major storyline this season as the survivors face new troubles stirred by Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers.
“We’ll see a lot of the Whisperers conflict through the eyes of these two as they are at times on parallel tracks, at times on divergent tracks,” Kang told TVLine. “I think they are soulmates, whether or not their relationship ever goes into romantic territory. They are tied to each other in this world and have been through so much together. They love each other, and they trust each other. They care what happens to the other. And yet that can be very complicated when there’s so much trauma and this bigger thing that’s taking over the communities.”
Like last season — where Reedus inherited leading man duties from Lincoln — Daryl speaks his mind, but you won’t catch him making speeches.
“When Rick left, when Andy left, I think the first thing I did was I called Angela and I was like, you know, Daryl’s not the type of guy that’s gonna build a soapbox and get up and speak to a room full of people and give ‘em some inspirational speech,” Reedus said on a February episode of Talking Dead. “But now he’s kind of found himself — he lived outside of the group, now he’s back into the group, he’s finding himself having to step up and sort of take leadership roles, which I think he’s a bit reluctant, you know.”
The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres Sunday, Oct. 6 at 9/8c on AMC. For more TWD Season 10 intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.