Norman Reedus reveals how he wants Daryl Dixon and Rick Grimes to reunite years after co-star Andrew Lincoln left The Walking Dead. Daryl watched Rick blow himself up on a bridge to halt a walker horde in Season 9, not knowing Rick survives the explosion when Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) rescues him. But Rick disappears, vanishing aboard a helicopter of the Civic Republic Military, and Daryl spends six years doggedly searching for the body of the man he calls brother. Reedus doesn't know if or when — or where — Daryl and Rick's reunion might take place in the Walking Dead Universe, but Reedus knows what he wants to happen:
"I think what would happen... I'd run into Rick by accident, he would smile, I would smile, I'd probably have a little tear flowing, and then I'd punch him in the face," Reedus revealed during Sunday's Walking Dead Season 11 Preview Special. (When Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick asked whether showrunner Angela Kang could say if Rick returns in the final season of The Walking Dead, Kang answered with a laugh: "Nope.")
Reedus credits Rick with opening up Daryl, the biological younger brother of Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker). Rick often referred to Daryl as his brother, and Daryl said he lost his brother in an accident when exchanging tragic backstories with Leah (Lynn Collins) in the Season 10 episode "Find Me."
"I think Rick was what broke Daryl out of his emotional jail. He really let Daryl in as a brother," Reedus said. "I think the brother thing really hit, especially after Merle. But with Rick's explosion on the bridge, I think that really let him know that life is short and you never know who's gonna go, when you're gonna go. I think that, with a lot of Carol nudging, kind of broke him free a little bit. He's still kind of closed off."
When ComicBook asked Reedus about a potential Daryl-Rick reunion over San Diego Comic-Con weekend, Reedus said, "I want a Rick and Daryl reunion. I don't want it to be for nothing. I don't want it to be cheap. I want it to be a real thing."
The current plan is for Rick to return only in theaters in the untitled Walking Dead Movie from Robert Kirkman and Scott Gimple. Reedus said in July that "it's kind of still up in the air what the movie thing is going to be," telling ComicBook of the movie: I think it's...changed perspective a couple of times. I don't know anything about it. I'm just going to leave it at that."
As for Lincoln making his return to The Walking Dead for its eleventh and final season, the Rick Grimes actor said in April that he would "never say never to that." Lincoln's Walking Dead Movie remains undated.
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. The Final Season of The Walking Dead premieres August 22 on AMC.