Rick and Daryl's relationship will get heated in The Walking Dead Season Nine in the wake of the Alexandrian leader's repeat failures, and Daryl will spend time at an unexpected location: the Sanctuary.
"There's definitely a fracture in that bone, but it's been a slow fracture for a while now. And it's sort of built up to a tension," Daryl Dixon star Norman Reedus told EW. "The interesting part about that is, that fracture and that bone that's been slightly breaking for a long time, when it snaps, it actually opens up the doors to heal itself."
Daryl, who has long served as Rick's mostly-mute right hand man, first clashed with Rick in Season Eight over Rick's proposed humane treatment of then-enemies the Saviors, who imprisoned and tortured Daryl after killing Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz).
New showrunner Angela Kang revealed on the Talking Dead: Walking Dead Season Nine preview special Daryl starts the season at the Sanctuary — the former domain of dethroned Savior leader Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) — a move that comes as result of Rick and Daryl's already strained relationship being at "an all time low" this season, with Daryl moving between communities in search of his place.
"His relationship with the group is completely different now. The only person that he has a very similar relationship with is Carol, that's it, because those two are [tight]. But the relationship between Daryl and Rick, it's changed," Reedus told Talking Dead.
"We've seen the Ricktatorship, we've seen the Governor, we've seen the Negan era, and all this stuff happened. But it's everybody following one guy and watching him fail. This year his relationship with Daryl is much different because Daryl's definitely found his voice. He has a mature voice now, which is also a very harsh voice. It's harsh but it's full of love at the same time."
Reedus told Variety during San Diego Comic-Con Rick and Daryl will butt heads because of Rick's repeated poor decisions and his commitment to fulfilling the idyllic reality envisioned by late son Carl (Chandler Riggs).
"They fight and they disagree on things, but it's like two brothers fighting. They always will have each other's back, but they don't necessarily agree on everything," Reedus said.
"I think a big part of the first half of the season with Daryl and Rick is, Rick's been sort of blinded by this desire to build something in honor of his son. And I think that is sort of taking him on a destructive path that's not only bad for him but bad for the group, in Daryl's eyes, and a few of the other characters' eyes. So a lot of that is him hearing me out and me making sure that Daryl's point is heard. It's not just something that's going through his mind, it's going through a couple of the characters' minds."
The Walking Dead Season Nine premieres Sunday, October 7 on AMC.