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TWD's Norman Reedus Confirms What We Suspected About Daryl And Leah's Relationship

For more than a decade, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) of "The Walking Dead," undoubtedly one of the biggest stars of cable television, went without a single love interest. Though there was certainly plenty of speculation over the years about a potential romantic relationship between the crossbow-toting apocalypse survivor and his best friend, the equally badass Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), nothing more has ever come of the dynamic duo's close friendship.

While Daryl's lack of on-screen "action" has even led to occasional speculation about the character's sexuality, all of this changed when the last six episodes of Season 10 aired in early 2021. Produced during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the final six episodes of the season were largely designed to satiate fans' hunger for more "Walking Dead" until Season 11 came around. Notably, many fans found it strange that Daryl appears to use one of the episodes to satiate a very different type of hunger. 

After 10 years of apparent celibacy, Daryl suddenly begins a relationship with a new character, Leah (Lynn Collins), in Season 10, Episode 18 ("Find Me"). Though we never actually see the couple consummate their physical relationship, the implications are quite clear. In a recent interview with Insider, Reedus opened up about how he feels about the somewhat controversial story decision.

Norman Reedus agrees the relationship was rushed

In an interview with Insider, Norman Reedus appeared to agree with the many fans who have complained about the relationship between Leah and Daryl. In fact, Reedus even went so far as to say he thought the relationship was "a little rushed." However, the actor also noted there is an understandable reason for the writers' sense of expediency. 

"That relationship was kind of crammed together in a way that fit with our shooting schedule and storyline for those two people," Reedus said, before elaborating further on the reason he believes the oft-noted misstep is a reasonable one. "Everyone's got nine layers of plastic on their face and we were all kind of very hesitant to get too close to anyone."

Reedus' explanation certainly makes sense. "The Walking Dead" Chief Content Officer Scott Gimple has previously stated that the additional episodes of Season 10 were "written with producibility in mind" (via Insider). Still, Reedus told Insider he would have preferred "more time" to develop the relationship between the two "instead of just a timeline written on the bottom of the screen." He also pointed out that he found it difficult to see Daryl fall into a relationship in such a rapid manner after going so long without showing any interest. 

"I've had so many conversations about what kind of boyfriend Daryl would be," Reedus said. "I've always said the same thing... I don't think he would jump in the sack that quick. I don't think he has those skills."

The first episode of "The Walking Dead" Season 11, Part 2 premieres on AMC on February 20 and is already available for streaming on AMC+.