I was in the middle of chatting with Walking Dead star Norman Reedus on the phone when this happened: “Oh, dude, there’s a drone above my house right now,” he said in the middle of answering a question. “It’s freaky.” Such is the life when you are a fan favorite on the highest-rated show on television — everyone wants to catch a glimpse of you, even via flying robots. “I hate these things,” said Reedus, laughing. “I went on vacation and one just sort of hovered above me every time I went on my patio, now there’s one right here.”
Of course, there are no drones in the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead — just zombies. And Wolves. And Alexandrian infighting. We spoke to Reedus about what to expect for Daryl in season 6, and he teased that an upcoming mystery will call back to a Daryl and Carol moment. What could it be? Start your guessing now.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So what can you tell us about what’s coming up for you guys in season 6?
NORMAN REEDUS: A lot of internal conflict, a lot of characters that you didn’t see having beef are starting to have beef. A lot of mistrust, and a lot of conflict inside the walls of Alexandria on how that place is supposed to be run, and who’s willing to trust whom. A lot of things went down in the last season that are causing a lot of people to try to figure out who’s going to screw them over and who they can trust. Alliances are being formed and a lot of the old-school loyals are starting to band together, and you don’t know what that means or where that’s going to end up. A lot of alliances are being formed at this moment, a lot of conflicts on both sides of that wall. There’s a lot going on.
Where is Daryl’s head now? We saw him bond with Aaron last season. Does that extend into season 6?
Well, the Aaron bond has turned into something else, and Aaron’s doing his own thing and Daryl’s doing his own thing, but that door that Aaron offered to Daryl to walk through and pick up that position of finding new people — you see from the trailer he’s found his people and it’s not going entirely well. You saw in the trailer there’s a guy pointing his gun at Daryl’s head, and Daryl’s tied up, and it’s not going well for Daryl right now.
It seemed in the trailer like there was a moment of disagreement between Rick and Daryl. Where does Daryl stand with his views on Alexandria and how they should be doing things going forward?
Rick is starting to shut the walls down. He’s starting to be like, “You know what, let’s not be such helping people.” And he’s coming to Daryl and he’s saying exactly that, and Daryl’s saying, “I don’t know, man, maybe it’s worth it to go and find people.” It sort of backfired on Daryl. He doesn’t look like he’s in the happiest circumstances right now.
How are Daryl and Rick doing with that disagreement? How’s their relationship?
Daryl is definitely a key component in the decision-making process. He’s more of a physical guy than a let’s-talk-about-it guy, but Daryl and Rick see eye-to-eye on almost everything. There have been moments where Daryl’s changed Rick’s mind and Rick’s changed Daryl’s mind. They’re definitely on the same side. Even when they disagree, they’re on the same side. There’s a lot of things happening right now, and a lot of people that Daryl didn’t trust right off the bat that Rick did trust and maybe doesn’t trust anymore. And Rick’s sort of shut down those walls, he’s closed those doors and Daryl’s not sure if that’s the way to go, or if the people Rick’s trusting inside those walls are worth trusting.
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Talk about what Greg Nicotero’s been up to this year in terms of the walkers. There are a lot of them this season and obviously he has to mix it up in terms of new types of zombies. What have you gotten to experience?
I don’t know if tongue-in-cheek is the right way to describe it, but there’s a creepy humor flavor that he sort of throws in there sometimes, and he’s the only one that understands it or knows what he’s going for. There are super beautiful elements to his zombies, but sometimes there’s a little something funny in there that just he knows and nobody else knows — or major comic-book fans or major zombie fans. There’s one particularly beautiful, gruesome zombie — he’s got a lot of green moss on him. But when you see that episode — it’s in episode 6, I think, that particular zombie — something happens, and it harks back to a Daryl and Carol moment. I’m going to let you just guess what that could be, but there are Easter eggs in some of those zombies, so you’ll see it in episode 6.
Obviously you guys have a bunch more people showing up this season. You’ve been open about how hard it is for you to get to know new people. What’s it been like this season?
It’s interesting, because they come on and they’re like, “Yay!” They come on super nervous, but they kind of find their way, and you kind of help them find their way sometimes. They come in with a lot of questions, they come in super excited, but by the end of the day they’ve lost 10 pounds and they’re covered in sticky blood and they’re all bruised up and cut up, and they’re like, “Oh, this is what you guys do.”
It’s kind of funny on day 1 to watch them all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and then day 2 they’re like, “Whew, it’s hot, and I’m tired, and I feel 100 years old.” And we go, “Yeah, all these grey hairs on our chins, they weren’t here season 1.” Andy and I kind of joke about that a lot, because we’re like, “Oh s—, you’re looking older! Oh s—, you’re looking a little bit greyer!” We have that running joke. But we’ve had a lot of new characters come on that are really good actors, and really into it and their storylines are really fun and different. Ethan Embry is awesome on the show. I know him from Empire Records, but he came on like a full-blown tour de force right from day 1. All the new characters you see — even the ones that tied me up and threaten my life — they were fun.
Watch Reedus talk more about what to expect in season 6 in the video below. And for more Walking Dead intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.