10:04pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Walking Dead's' Norman Reedus: The Wolves Are a "Bunch of Daryls Gone South"
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from "Conquer," the season-five finale of AMC's The Walking Dead.]
AMC's The Walking Dead closed out its fifth season Sunday with a 90-minute episode that nearly featured the deaths of two beloved series regulars — Steven Yeun's Glenn and Norman Reedus' Daryl — while also seeing the return of another fan favorite.
While searching for survivors to help bolster the ranks at Alexandria, Daryl and Aaron (Ross Marquand) run into a trap set by a group known as the Wolves. It leads to a tense scene where the duo is trapped in a car surrounded by a horde of walkers. But just before Daryl is willing to sacrifice himself so Aaron can escape, Morgan (Lennie James) returns to save the day and help the duo escape. Together, the trio returns to Alexandria — where the first thing they see is a bloodied Rick (Andrew Lincoln) executing Pete amid a throng of onlookers.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Reedus late Sunday night following his appearance on Talking Dead to get the scoop on Daryl's humanity — and season six.
Why doesn't Daryl say anything to Morgan about Rick when he first sees that Morgan has the map that Abraham left?
He doesn't understand. He knows who Morgan is; Rick probably told Daryl about Morgan when they had all that stuff with the walkie talkies. I think he knew it was Morgan when he handed him the map and saw what was written on there. Morgan is somebody Rick has been looking for, so he was automatically in the gang [in Daryl's mind].
Daryl and Aaron nearly died during the finale. How will that experience change Daryl going forward?
From the beginning Aaron has always been nothing but honest, and he's come through on his word. He talked about Alexandria when Daryl didn't trust him at all. They've had conversations walking through the woods and tracking while looking for new people. Aaron has proven himself — it's not what you say, it's what you do — and he's come through. Aaron continues to be someone Daryl trusts. When they're in the car and Daryl says he's going to make a break for it, I don't think he's sacrificing his life. He always felt that he's either going to make it or put up a good fight trying to make it. I don't think he's sacrificing himself; he knows the odds are better if Aaron takes this leap.
Morgan saves both Aaron and Daryl. Will Daryl have any sort of allegiance to Morgan?
I don't know if it's that the right term, but Daryl feels like Morgan is someone who can hold his own and is a good asset to the group. I don't know if Daryl has any sort of allegiance; he's always going to be cautious of everybody. But Morgan is someone we can use on our side.
Daryl and Aaron return to Alexandria with Morgan to find Rick executing Pete. What kind of reaction do you think Daryl will have?
Rick said on the porch, "If they don't change their ways, we're just going to take this place." I assume Daryl feels like that is the beginning of them taking Alexandria.
How might Morgan respond to that? That's not the Rick Grimes that he once knew.
But look at Morgan, he's not the same Morgan that Rick last saw, either. He's completely different, too. He was completely crazy the last time Rick ran into him, and now he's this Zen guy with a staff. People change; I don't know what Morgan will feel. And who knows what happened right before [Daryl, Morgan and Aaron] got there — maybe that guy was swinging a samurai sword at everyone. Maybe he had one of the ladies there by the hair and was holding the sword to her. We don't know. It's not like we saw him begging for his life, and then Rick put him down. We just caught the tail end of that. So we don't really know.
How might Morgan fit in with everyone at Alexandria?
He's going to fit in pretty easily. He's an "all life is precious" Zen-type of guy. He doesn’t seem like a wild animal like we were coming in [to Alexandria].
Something fundamental has happened to Morgan to bring out this change since Rick last saw him in "Clear." Do you know what's going on with Morgan?
I know there's talk of us finding out at some point. Daryl's never met Morgan before; the only thing Daryl knows about Morgan is what Rick told him. Morgan comes through with this heroic act, and Daryl has heard he's a nice guy. Morgan is someone who helped Rick in the beginning when he first came out of the hospital, but Daryl has never spent time with Morgan before.
Has Daryl's relationship with Aaron made him feel like part of the community?
Daryl is on the other side of the gate; he's not spending his time in the community — which is perfectly fine for him. It's not that I don't think Daryl can adapt and live there; I feel like he's a little more cautious than other people. A lot of people think that the people of Alexandria are his people, and he doesn't feel like he can fit in to a suburban community, but it's more than that. These people are weak and are going to be slaughtered in this world and that's something that is going to get in Daryl's way.
Daryl and Aaron have seen how smart the Wolves can be — and Morgan knows their mindset. How different is the threat of the Wolves compared with other human forces we've seen before like Gareth (Andrew J. West) at Terminus and The Governor (David Morrissey)?
Terminus did horrible things behind the wall; they were a wimpy and in a cowardly way tricked people to going there, and then they did their evil business behind their walls. These guys are roamers, and they seem like a whole bunch of Daryls gone south, who have gone really bad and turned into wolves. They're probably on the move; I don't think they're afraid to butcher people right out in the open. They seem different than Terminus; Terminus was more cowardly. They would trick you into coming to Disneyland and then eat you.
Season five was largely about if these people are too far gone in terms of their humanity. Where do you think Daryl is with his? What would he have done in Rick's position with Pete?
He would have killed Pete right off the bat. Rick has a lot more patience than Daryl. If Daryl is pushed up against the wall in a fight, he's fighting you. If Rick is pushed up against the wall, he'll figure out how to win strategically. Rick is more of a chess player; Daryl is more of a pick up the chess piece and throw it in your face kind of guy (laughs).
In a statement on Talking Dead, showrunner Scott M. Gimple said the biggest threat in season six is not human. Considering what we've seen with the Wolves, if the threat isn't human, is it Walkers?
You'll have to ask Scott. I don't know anything about it. I do know what Scott has planned is going to be epic.
Carol has continued to be a force of her own within Alexandria. Could you see a romantic future for Daryl and Carol?
I've had lots of talks with Scott about it. I like our relationship how it is. We don't have to make out to be who we are. We're kindred spirits; there's a brother-sister bond there that's almost stronger than a lovey-dovey bond. I'm not totally against it, but I'm not totally for it. It's tricky. Once you do that, it's there forever. To be honest, I'm not begging for it, and I'm not opposed to it.
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