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The Real Reason Daryl Punched Negan In The Walking Dead Season 11 Premiere

Contains spoilers for "The Walking Dead" Season 11, Episode 1

Does any mission in "The Walking Dead" ever end well? The first episode of the AMC hit show's Season 11 features a supply run that causes no end of tension, thanks to Maggie's (Lauren Cohan) decision to include Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in the team. As the group progresses, animosity increases, and the ending of the episode is a major cliffhanger that shows Negan walking away from Maggie, seemingly content to see his adversary die at the hands of a walker horde.

That being said, the episode has plenty of other moments of tension, as well. Before the ending, the situation between Negan and Maggie escalates when Negan expresses his view that Maggie brought him along in order to kill him "like a dog," and compares this to what Negan personally did to Maggie's husband Glenn (Steven Yeun). Maggie obviously doesn't much care for the unnecessarily ruthless comment, and there's no telling what'd happen if Daryl (Norman Reedus) wouldn't use the opportunity to shut Negan up with a well-placed punch. However, Reedus has now revealed that the show's resident arbalist had a very specific reason for doing this — and it might not be the one you think. Here's the real reason Daryl punched Negan in "The Walking Dead" season 11 premiere.

Reedus thinks Daryl punched Negan as a last-ditch effort to save him

Per Entertainment Weekly, both Morgan and Cohan reacted quite strongly to Negan's Glenn line behind the scenes, to the point that Morgan didn't want to say it. Norman Reedus noted that Daryl's in-universe views are quite similar. 

"Daryl snaps in the beginning, like, just shut up!" Reedus said. "No one's listening to you. Shut up! You're making things worse, just 'cause you yap all the time. When I read [in the script] that Negan said that, I was like, 'Wow, okay. For somebody who's down in the sewer, surrounded by all the people that loved Glenn, and you're worried someone's going to kill you, that's a really stupid thing to say.'" 

As such, Reedus feels that Daryl's punch was actually an act of kindness, because Negan was making Maggie really, really angry — and if he hadn't de-escalated the situation in some way, there might have been far worse consequences. "I think Daryl punches him kind of to save his life," he says. "I think it's to save his life and to move things forward because we need to get out of the tunnel, and that could have gone a whole other direction."