Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon will be at odds in The Walking Dead season 9 as Rick heads down a “destructive path” chasing the hopeful future inspired by his late son Carl.
“They fight and they disagree on things, but it’s like two brothers fighting. They always will have each other’s back, but they don’t necessarily agree on everything,” star Norman Reedus told Variety during San Diego Comic-Con.
“I think a big part of the first half of the season with Daryl and Rick is, Rick’s been sort of blinded by this desire to build something in honor of his son. And I think that is sort of taking him on a destructive path that’s not only bad for him but bad for the group, in Daryl’s eyes, and a few of the other characters’ eyes. So a lot of that is him hearing me out and me making sure that Daryl’s point is heard. It’s not just something that’s going through his mind, it’s going through a couple of the characters’ minds.”
We learned earlier Rick and Daryl’s relationship will be at an all-time low in this new season, fueled by Rick’s controversial and solely-made decision to spare the life of ousted Savior leader Negan, who has been imprisoned in the Alexandria jail for more than a year.
“It’s a very volatile, dangerous world that that show’s based in, and you can’t really make mistakes,” Reedus said. “Part of the reason I love Rick Grimes is that he’s trying really hard, but some of his decisions just suck, they really do. But he’s always trying.”
Rick’s decision will also see the Alexandrian leader face problems from other close allies — namely Lauren Cohan’s widowed Hilltop leader Maggie, who seeks harsher justice for the murder of husband Glenn — but despite openly airing his grievances with Rick’s way of doing things, Daryl maintains with Rick a tight, if strained, bond.
“These are big decisions that we’re making, and that relationship, it can come to blows as it’s done before,” Reedus said. “But I think we always have each other’s back in the end.”
Rick and Daryl clashed early on in season 8 over Rick’s humane treatment of the then-enemy Saviors. In season 9, Daryl is no longer tied to Alexandria: he now moves between communities in search of his place.
The Walking Dead season 9 kicks off Sunday, October 7 on AMC.