Asked if Daryl would become The Walking Dead's new Rick — that is, the leader of the survivors (and lead of the show) — now that Lincoln has left, Reedus told reporters at the show's Georgia set, simply, "no."
"I don't think anyone's gonna step up and be Rick," Reedus said. "I think everybody on the show is gonna step up and elevate their game and fill that hole. I don't think there could be a new Rick. I know the internet's like, 'Screw Norman! Who does he think he is?' I've just got to sit there go, 'Huh, whatever.' Everybody sort of steps up to the plate."
Andy Lincoln was the show's leader off-screen, too, with boundless enthusiasm and warmth and charisma that doesn't come as naturally to most other people. "I think there are some of us older, wiser people that somehow end up doing that [leadership], but not like him," Reedus said. "If you come to me and you're like 'can you do this thing?' I'm like 'Can you call me later? Go talk to her, she'll be much better at this.' And then I'll do it. But I'm not that guy [that Andy was]. I think there's enough of us where we can be spread around where someone can get an answer somewhere."
Besides, as a character, Daryl's never been a leader anyway. "He's got that antihero, anti-leader thing going on, you know what I mean?" Reedus said. It would be dishonest and untrue to the character to suddenly make him the leader. In fact, in Season 9, Rick has put him in charge of the Sanctuary, and he chafes at the role and says he'd much rather go back to being the lone wolf he was before.
To paraphrase G.I. Joe, Daryl (and Norman) just wants to ride his motorcy......cle.
The Walking Dead Season 9 premieres Sunday, Oct. 9