The Walking Dead guest star Hilarie Burton Morgan says she "worried" for Lynn Collins as the first love interest of long-eligible bachelor Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus). Fans have long 'shipped Daryl and Carol (Melissa McBride), or Daryl and Beth (Emily Kinney), or Daryl and Connie (Lauren Ridloff), but it was cabin-dwelling loner and Dog mom Leah (Collins) who won Daryl's heart in a retconned romance that happened over years. Introduced in the Season 10 episode "Find Me," Leah disappeared before Daryl's old flame returned in the Season 11 episode "Rendition," which unmasks Leah as one of the Reapers.
"Lynn and I have known each other for years, for a very long time. So when I knew she was playing Daryl's love interest, I was worried for you," Burton Morgan told Collins on after-show Talking Dead. "There are two camps: there are the people who want to see Norman get down with someone, but they're dedicated to who they think that person should be, and then there are the people that are like, 'No one touches him, ever.'"
"So not only have [the producers] put you in that boat, but they made you a Reaper on top of everything," the Lucille Smith actor added with a laugh. "I'm like, 'What are they doing to her?!' I'm so worried for you."
Reedus, who has played the bachelor bowman since the first season of The Walking Dead in 2010, also worried about Daryl's first romantic and physical relationship in ten seasons.
"It was interesting because I've been fighting having something like this happen since day one," Reedus previously told Entertainment Weekly about "Find Me" and the Daryl-Leah love. "And I was like, 'Please don't hook me up with anybody. Everyone's going to yell at me about it!'"
In the wake of "Find Me," Reedus said, "I woke up this morning to a lot of messages being like, 'How could you be with her? What's wrong with you?' And I'm like, 'Well, it's not really what it seems to be.'"
"We had a little talk about it. I was super nervous. And you never know what to expect with those things," continued Reedus. "So I just wanted to stay true to Daryl, and depending on what happens next, you kind of have to play it a certain way or otherwise something else might not work later. So I tiptoed around them as much as possible."
Burton Morgan played Lucille, the cancer-stricken wife of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), in The Walking Dead Season 10 episode "Here's Negan." The One Tree Hill and White Collar star now hosts and executive produces SundanceTV's True Crime Stories: It Couldn't Happen Here, available on AMC+.
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. The Walking Dead Season 11 airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.