…No one else was ever even considered to play Daryl Dixon. The part was written for Reedus. Not a single actor ever came close to playing the crossbow-wielding zombie killer!
But the story of how Reedus arrived at the role of Daryl Dixon is fascinating!
When the pilot for The Walking Dead was written, the character of Daryl Dixon didn’t even exist. That was until Reedus came along.
Reedus read the script for the pilot of The Walking Dead before he was offered an opportunity to audition for any part. As he badly wanted the opportunity to be part of the show, he was finally brought in to audition for the part of Merle Dixon. As fans of the show know, this part was awarded to the veteran actor, Michael Rooker.
However, the show’s producers, and specifically the Showrunner, Frank Darabont, were enamored with his audition and knew that they wanted Reedus to be part of The Walking Dead. But, there wasn’t a part to plug Reedus into. All of the parts that Reedus could play were assigned to other actors. As well, every comic book character that Reedus could play in the early episodes were used.
Darabont decided that he would create a character just for Reedus. That’s where Daryl Dixon was born! Fans of the comics know that Daryl Dixon isn’t a comic book character and, ultimately, never even appeared in a single edition of the comics entire run, which ended last year when its creator, Robert Kirkman, ended the comic book series.
Daryl has gone on to be one of the longest running characters on The Walking Dead, along with Carol (Melissa McBride). Not only is he the longest running male character, but he’s also by far the most popular character on the show. Daryl Dixon merchandise outsells any other character, including Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) merchandise. The character even has his own call to arms from his fans, which is, “If Daryl dies, we riot!”
Additional confirmation of Daryl and Reedus’ popularity is reflected in the lines for fans to meet Reedus at conventions. At conventions, such as Walker Stalker Con, Reedus’ lines far exceeded any other actor and there are so many fans wanting to meet him that he could never meet them all.
Reedus is currently under contract through Season 11 of The Walking Dead, along with Melissa McBride. There are rumors that the show will end after Season 11 but it’s hard to believe that it will. Furthermore, it’s hard to image the show without Reedus and with the amount of money that AMC is allegedly paying Reedus, it would be hard to believe him passing up another contract on the show.
We’re headed towards the Season 10 finale of The Walking Dead on October 4th at 8 p.m. Eastern. The episode finds Daryl and the crew surrounded by Beta (Ryan Hurst) and the Whisperers. Reedus had previously said we should expect a Game of Thrones scale battle of epic proportions.
Can you image anyone else as Daryl Dixon? We can’t! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Covering superheroes, anything dark, horror, and more! Lead writer for Fan Fest