The character of Daryl Dixon (played by Norman Reedus), is a fan favorite of the hit zombie series, The Walking Dead. As many comic book readers and viewers of the show know, Daryl Dixon is NOT an integral part of the comic books, The Walking Dead. Created by Robert Kirkman, the character of Daryl Dixon was specifically created for actor, Norman Reedus. Even after the character became so popular, Daryl continued to remain absent from the comic series, much like Daryl’s older brother, Merle Dixon (played by Michael Rooker), who was also created strictly for the show.
According to Robert Kirkman, who spoke on the matter during Skybound’s San Diego Comic-Con panel back in July 2018, “The reason behind the decision has to do with “legal issues” surrounding the character, though he didn’t really get into the specifics behind it.” Additionally, longtime artist, Charlie Adlard, said, “It would have felt “wrong” and “completely disingenuous” to bring a character created for the television show into the comic book universe.” Whatever the reason, The Walking Dead comics ended in July of 2019; never adding in the character of Daryl Dixon.
During that same interview in July of 2018, creator Robert Kirkman stated, “Norman Reedus likeness rights and stuff,” Kirkman explained at the time, as per Comicbook.com, while admitting that he enjoys making the books and show different in such a profound way. “I love the fact that there is something, if you read the comics, there would be an absence of Daryl and I feel like that adds to the mystery of the comic and makes it more appealing.” The comics was first issued in 2003 and the series ended July 2019 with a total of 193 issues.
However, it has been revealed that Kirkman was NOT the one who originally created the character of Daryl for the series. The creation goes to Season 1 showrunner, Frank Darabont, and writers, Charles H. Eglee and Jack LoGuidice, who initiated Daryl’s debut in the third episode, “Tell It to the Frogs.” At the time of auditions, Norman Reedus was discovered during his reading for the role of Merle Dixon. They didn’t think that he was quite right for the part of Merle, but they loved his audition so much that they created Daryl Dixon just for him.
Despite pressure from fans, writers insisted that they would NOT include Daryl into the comics. It was stated, “We always said, ‘No, we’re never gonna do that,’ and we were true to our words,” Adlard told Konbini when asked if The Walking Dead creative team felt pressured to add Daryl into the comics. “He’s a pure TV fabrication. Why would we bring that into our own original world? It would feel wrong.” And just like that, the comics ended abruptly and Daryl Dixon will forever stay as the television series character. As of right now, fans have no clue about Daryl’s fate and what will happen to him in the future.