In every series or TV show, there is always a character that leaves all the other characters in the dust and becomes the absolute fan favorite. For The Walking Dead, Daryl Dixon is obviously the breakout character of the show. Why? Let’s find out.
The crossbow-wielding redneck is the star of the show, a knight in shining armor. Starting off as a self-centered loner, loyal only to his abrasive and uncontrollably racist brother Merle, Daryl’s character is played by Norman Reedus, who has been working as an actor over a decade. Although the most popular actor of the series by far, with releases like the Boondock Saints and other celebrated movies in Hollywood, he was never meant to play a major character. So how did he become one?
Reedus met Arthur Fonzerelli on TV’s Happy Days, and was inspired by him. A character like The Fonz is not easy to play, but Reedus managed somehow, and also managed to make it look effortless. Fans always love something new and Daryl has that something that all the fans adore. Kevin Smith compared Daryl’s character with Han Solo and Chewbacca.
How was it possible for Reedus to bring such a character to life? Well, first of all, the writing and setting was perfect for such a character, and Reedus’s amazing interpretation of the character onscreen worked its magic on the audience.
Sometimes, when the character and the actor have the same characteristics, the acting becomes something more than acting – genuine, raw, and intense. Norman Reedus is so much like Daryl in real life that it’s near impossible to distinguish when he is playing Daryl, or when he is being Norman. During the suicide scenes, when Daryl was throwing out some legendary dialogues, critics and expert were sure that he was speaking out from his heart, not from the script that he has just learned. The role that Reedus plays and his personality is so real, that on the screen it feels like this is just a natural extension of himself.
Daryl is a bad boy with a heart of gold, a trope that is popular with the female population all over the world. On Daryl’s character, one avid female fans says, “He is the type of guy my mother would warn me about, tell me to stay away from.” Bad boys who are stable are something that women seem to want. And the redneck appeal of Daryl simply adds to his charm. The audience instantly found him more attractive when he set out to find Sophia in Season 2 and didn’t give up, no matter what obstacles were thrown his way. Daryl shows that his rough exterior hides a soft core.
Women started voting for Daryl as the sexiest man on The Walking Dead. When the fairer half of the audience has the hots for a character in your show, it’s only sensible to flesh him out. For most female fans, Daryl is the ultimate character. Female audiences like his protective nature, this toughness, and his vulnerability.
Enough of the female fan base, what about the guys? Men make up majority of the audiences of The Walking Dead. What do the guys think of Daryl Dixon? Guys give Daryl the green light, too. He is an ass kicker and has got that ego that any man might want to possess. He is someone who can get the job done with loyalty and honor. He does play a huge role in the series and gracefully retreats to the background when it’s Rick turn in the limelight. A selfless character, he has earned the love of all his fans. When men were asked, which The Walking Dead character they would like to have their backs during a zombie apocalypse, most of them had Daryl Dixon in their short list.
A main character is always needed for the buildup of a series. But a popular character is a must for the market penetration of that series. And that is exactly why Daryl Dixon is vital to The Walking Dead.