Post Mortems

Walking Dead's Norman Reedus Talks About That Cliffhanger Ending, Teases 'Most Hardcore Finale Ever'

Norman Reedus The Walking Dead

The following story contains spoilers from Sunday’s The Walking Dead. Proceed at your own peril. 

Oh, The Walking Dead — you wouldn’t dare.

In the closing seconds of Sunday’s penultimate Season 6 episode, Dwight aimed his pistol at Daryl and pulled the trigger — the blood splatter on the camera lens serving as grim confirmation that the bullet reached its intended target.

But is Daryl dead? We phoned Norman Reedus and kindly asked him to put our minds at ease. Sadly, he only made things worse.

TVLINE | Is there anything you are allowed to say to calm your fans down?
Oh, geez. Exactly what you see happens, happens. It’s not a trick. It’s definitely Daryl getting shot. I won’t tell you where he’s getting shot. But you see [Dwight] pull the trigger, and that’s Daryl’s blood.

TVLINE | Is he dead?
I can’t say whether or not he’s dead. But he is definitely shot. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Producers always say no one, except maybe Andrew Lincoln, is safe. But I think there’s a perception that given Daryl’s enormous popularity that you are pretty much untouchable. How do you feel about your security on the show?
I never feel secure. I don’t think any of us feel secure — including [Andrew]. I think every single one of us on the show knows that we can go at any time. That’s the world that we’re living in. That’s the reality. We could all go at any time.

TVLINE | Let’s say Daryl does die. It seems highly unlikely, but let’s say that was your final episode. Would you look back with any regrets? Maybe there’s a particular goodbye scene — perhaps between Carol and Daryl — you would’ve liked to play? Or a face-off with Negan?
There’s a ton of story to tell with Daryl… But that’s true with all of the characters. I think all of the [actors] wish they had a scene with this person or had more time with that character. But we’re on a journey to tell a larger story. There are certain roads I would’ve liked to travel down. I don’t know if I’d call them regrets, though.

TVLINE | Assuming Daryl lives, would you like to see him open up in a relationship the way other characters have, i.e. Glenn/Maggie and now Rick/Michonne? 
I’m not opposed to it. I like watching all the characters around me couple up. I could go both ways on that. I could see Daryl having that and I could see Daryl never having that.

TVLINE | Do you think Daryl is capable of it?
He’s getting close. I don’t think he has been open to it up until this point, to be honest. He’s got a lot of angst and fear. And he’s got a tornado-like rebellion against stuff. But I think he’s finally getting to a point where he’d be open to something like that. But then something will happen and he’ll become un-open to it.

TVLINE | Why was it so important that he go after Dwight, even if it meant putting his friends at risk?
I think it has to do with losing his brother. I think it has to do with losing Denise. I think it has to do with Denise telling Daryl that she had a brother that reminded her of him. He’s just one of those guys where things just eat away at him until he has to do something. And [Denise’s death] hit really close to home. He saw her try to open up and live a life from the heart, and it’s one of the things that he hasn’t been able to do. Also, she was [killed] with his arrow. In his mind, he let that happen. He feels like it’s his fault and he wants revenge.

TVLINE | Is it getting easier or harder to say goodbye to your co-stars as they get killed off?
On screen it may not look like we spend a lot of time together, but we spend a lot of time together. And it’s hard not to let it affect you when they go. For example, Merritt Wever and I started having scenes together, and we started to finally hang out and become friends. I really liked her as a person. It’s hard for me to say goodbye, especially when you get to know someone. It hurts every time. It sucks to lose anyone on the show.

TVLINE | Regardless of whether Daryl lives or dies, I imagine you know what happens in next week’s finale. How does it compare to the five previous season finales?
It’s the most hardcore finale we’ve ever had. It’s rough. It’s the most gut-wrenching finale yet. And it’s one of, if not the best episode I’ve ever seen of our show. It’s mind-blowing.

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