‘The Walking Dead’ Really, Really Wants Us To Believe Negan Kills Daryl

On Oct. 23, Negan is going to bash someone’s head in on The Walking Dead. He may bash in the heads of two people. As the chilling title of the episode suggests, Rick is going to wish that he were no longer alive. We don’t know who will die yet. It could be Maggie. It could be Glenn. It could be Abe. It could be a combination of the three.

It won’t be Daryl Dixon. Daryl is the most popular character on the series. He’s a huge part of the franchise. It doesn’t matter how many times Robert Kirkman says “no one is safe, including Daryl,” that character is not going anywhere, even if The Walking Dead does have a Daryl Dixon problem. Removing Daryl is like having a birthday cake without frosting. It would continue to exist, but fans wouldn’t be nearly as excited about it.

Daryl Dixon is not going to die in the seventh season premiere. However, The Walking Dead really wants us to believe he will.

The campaign started subtly. The end credits song in the sixth season finale — played after the victim was killed — was Maya Lavelle’s “This Ain’t The End,” which included lyrics that evoked the life of Daryl: “I’m in the garden, drinking bourbon,” which is perhaps how we’d like to picture Daryl in the afterlife.

In August, AMC ran a The Walking Dead marathon and followed it with an episode of The Talking Dead devoted to hyping season seven. The episode showed one clip of the premiere. It featured Negan’s right-hand man, Dwight, riding around on Daryl’s motorcycle and wearing Daryl’s jacket. The conclusion AMC clearly wanted us to draw was that Negan had killed Daryl, and that Dwight had taken Daryl’s belongings.

More recently, AMC released another clip of a conversation between Rick and Negan right after Negan murders his victim where Negan strongly suggests that the victim is the “right-hand man” of Rick. If that wasn’t a strong enough implication that Daryl had just died, the clip also featured a shot of the blanket Daryl was wearing laying about 3 feet away from the bloody remains of the victim.

It’s clearly a disinformation campaign, but one that Robert Kirkman is attempting to push. Here’s proof: In each issue of Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic, he includes “Letter Hacks,” which is basically a note to readers. In the most recent issue, Kirkman’s letter hack ended thusly:

“I’m preparing for the Riots. Bring it on!”

The “riots,” clearly evokes a certain popular meme that’s been going around for three or four years now.

Kirkman, Scott Gimple, and AMC are in cahoots. They’re trolling us, and there’s just enough evidence there to make us doubt our belief that Daryl will never die.