16 April 2024

The Walking Dead Creator Reveals Why Daryl Dixon Was Excluded From the Comics

3 min read

The Walking Dead comic book series created by Robert Kirkman, captured the imaginations of readers with its post-apocalyptic narrative. However, the characters of Daryl and Merle Dixon, who would later gain popularity in the TV adaptation, were not part of the original comic’s storyline. Norman Reedus’s portrayal of Daryl became a fan-favorite, leading to the character’s solo spin-off series titled The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, where he embarks on a new chapter in France, searching for his former allies, Rick and Michonne, amidst human and undead threats.


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Robert Kirkman, in reflecting on the creative process, acknowledged the collaborative effort that brought the Dixon brothers to life. He shared in The Walking Dead Deluxe #67 (via ComicBook) how various writers, including Jack LoGiudice and Charles H. Eglee, played a role in developing these characters. According to Kirkman, what makes the TV adaptation unique is the dynamic relationship between the actors and their characters. Michael Rooker’s and Reedus’ portrayal of Merle and Norman inspired the writers to shape their characters in unexpected ways as the series progressed.

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“While I had a hand in creating Daryl and Merle, it was very much a team effort involving other season one writers Jack LoGiudice and Charles H. Eglee, as well as Frank Darabont (who originated and named them). A cool thing in TV is that the actors also have a huge hand in who their characters become just in the way they interpret lines. Surprising line reads inspire the writers to write the characters completely differently as the series progresses. So, I’d also credit Michael Rooker and Norman Reedus with a lot of what makes those characters work.”

While The Walking Dead TV series and the comic shared some elements, they remained distinct entities. The decision not to include Daryl and Merle in the comic was due to a desire to maintain the integrity of the original source material. The success of the comic played a pivotal role in making the TV adaptation possible, and Kirkman wanted to ensure both mediums could thrive independently without compromising each other’s unique appeal. He said:

“I would never have done it because it would feel wrong to bring the work of so many other people into the comic. I never wanted the show to change the comic, since the comic is what made the show possible, and I worried it could turn into a snake eating its own tail.”


Daryl Dixon Secures Season 2 Renewal Ahead of Premiere

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AMC

Despite not having aired a single episode, The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon has already been renewed for a second season, a testament to the network’s confidence in its success. AMC’s president of entertainment, Dan McDermott, expressed enthusiasm for the show’s prospects, emphasizing the continued growth of the Walking Dead Universe. The network is investing in Daryl’s character, bringing the apocalypse to France and transforming locations like Notre Dame and Pont du Gard into an apocalyptic landscape, offering a fresh and unprecedented experience for fans of the franchise. McDermott said:

“This next chapter in the ‘Walking Dead’ Universe continues to thrive with a terrific inaugural season for ‘Dead City’ and highly anticipated new journey for fan-favorite character Daryl Dixon coming in September. We can’t wait to bring ‘Dead City’ fans back to the epicenter of Manhattan for more zip-lining action with Maggie and Negan. And, ahead of its debut, we’re thrilled to double down on Daryl as we bring the apocalypse to France, transforming Notre Dame, Pont du Gard and other iconic locales into an apocalyptic landscape unlike anything we’ve seen before.”

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is set to premiere on September 10.