Norman Reedus, who plays loveable redneck Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead, says his character “never forgives himself” for the brutal events that took place during the show’s seventh season opener.
Warning: This article contains Season 7 Episode 1 spoilers
The hit zombie show returned for its new season a fortnight ago with a bloody opening scene, which saw two key characters — Glenn and Abraham— bludgeoned to death at the hands of new arch villain Negan. After seeing Abraham killed in front of him, Daryl hit out at Negan, which in turn led to Glenn being murdered in retaliation for his show of petulance.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about how the traumatising events of that opening episode will have affected his character, Reedus, who has been in The Walking Dead since 2010, said that Daryl will never find closure over the deaths, particularly that of fan favourite Glenn.
“He goes into a very dark place,” explained the 47-year-old actor. “He completely takes the weight of that and just carries that with him. He never forgives himself and he takes full responsibility. Although the thing is, Daryl didn’t say ‘Oh if I do this, they’ll kill Glenn.’
“Nobody knows what’s going to happen with that guy with the bat. Nobody knows anything. But what he was doing was protecting Rosita. Negan had that bloody bat, waving it in her face, yelling at her, and it’s right in front of my face too.
“We were right next to each other. And he was picking on Rosita and Daryl stood up for her and he stood up for Abraham. The outcome of that, nobody knew that was going to happen.
“The weight of Glenn’s death is going to weigh on Daryl heavily, I know it does,” Reedus continued. “He gives up, he loses the fight, he’s keeping to himself, whatever’s happening to him, he thinks he deserves it. He’s going to let it happen, which is crushing. To take somebody wild like that — a wild, pure, honest fighter like that — and just strip him of his desire to fight back or fight for anything, it’s crushing.”
Reedus also spoke about the changing tone of this new season, with Rick’s group of survivors seriously up against it and their spirits broken.
“We’ve never not been in control or at least thought we were in control,” he said. “You have to break down heroes to see them turn into bigger heroes.
“Hopefully those heroes make it and hopefully those heroes find their way back to the type of people that fight for freedom and fight for their friends.
“It’s just a different season. It’s uplifting and it’s heartbreaking all at the same time, it’s a very emotional ride this year. It’s a very bold move, but the payoff is really big.”