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The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus Didn't Want To Say A Famous Line

By the time "The Walking Dead" aired its series finale, it was a dramatically different show than when it began. That's in no small part because the series cast had changed almost entirely from its lauded early days. And even a show as celebrated as "The Walking Dead" has not been immune to such turnover altering its makeup at the very core. Changes aside, the final season of the series still kept viewers hooked from its harrowing opening tome to its wistful finale, in no small part because enough key players from the O.G. cast were still around to make the stakes matter.

Longtime fan-favorite Norman Reedus was arguably the most important member of that esteemed crew. And his crossbow-wielding tough guy Daryl Dixon indeed plays a major role in the series' epic finale. Occasionally, he even does the least Daryl-like thing that comes to mind, using his words to either rally the troops or call for calmer heads amid a tense situation. During a recent interview with Vanity Fair, however, Reedus admitted there was a line in one of Daryl's speeches he had major trouble with, and it was the one that found him dropping the name of the series mid-sentence. "I didn't want to say it, I'll be honest with you," Reedus told VF, adding, "I didn't want to say it, and they kind of talked me into saying it."

Reedus had a good reason for not wanting to say the title-dropping line on The Walking Dead

That title-dropping moment comes as Daryl Dixon tries to stem the rash of human-on-human violence that's plagued humanity in the apocalyptic world of "The Walking Dead." And as Norman Reedus explained to Vanity Fair, when he came across the line in the final script, he initially lobbied to leave it out. And he did so mostly because that exact line of dialogue had already been used so effectively by his old co-star Andrew Lincoln.

Lincoln uttered the same words during a rousing speech given a few seasons prior by his longtime character Rick Grimes. And Reedus was quick to offer the potency of Lincoln's reading in explaining his own reticence toward repeating it. "If you remember way back when Rick [Grimes] says it," Reedus told VF, continuing, "he was like, 'We are not the walking dead."' Reedus goes on to say he knew he'd have to re-invent the line in order to pull the repeat off, stating, "Well, I can't make a big thing of it now because that's what Andy did way back then." 

If you've seen "The Walking Dead" finale, you know Reedus essentially took the opposite approach and underplayed the moment, with the actor stating, "So I kind of just incorporated it into the dialogue, and I didn't want to shout it from the rooftops." A case could easily be made that Reedus' subdued reading made the line all the more impactful. And yes, even Andrew Lincoln himself might agree.