Norman Reedus has always been vocal about the toll it takes on him personally when good friends and longtime castmates depart The Walking Dead. The past few years have been especially hard for the actor watching folks like Steven Yeun, Andrew Lincoln, and Lauren Cohan depart the show. Season 10 will be no easier as it will mark the final hurrah for Danai Gurira, who finished filming her handful of episodes over the summer.
We spoke to Reedus to get his take on the departure of his “good friend” and partner, and he also teased what to expect for both Daryl Dixon and the show in season 10, which premieres Oct. 6 on AMC.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s the vibe and tone of season 10? What are we looking at here?
NORMAN REEDUS: It’s full paranoia this season. It’s the group eating itself and having to deal with the consequences of just being trapped in all different directions. You can’t tell who’s on the good side, who’s on the bad side. Some people are playing other people for the wrong reasons and it’s kind of the breakdown internally, which is causing everybody to make these decisions that are just horrible, actually.
So we have some people that are on this mission for revenge, some people that are haunted by visions of the past. Then you have some characters that are in totally different circumstances that they’ve never been. How can you trust in them? Then sometimes you think that you can’t, and then you can, then you can’t. It’s a real feeling of paranoia and claustrophobia this season.
What about specifically in terms of Daryl? It’s interesting because last season after Rick disappeared and we had the time jump forward, he was out on his own, hanging with Dog in the woods. Then he came back to the Hilltop to watch after Henry. So where’s Daryl at in season 10?
Daryl’s got the ghosts of all these other characters that used to be on the show, they’re haunting him. He’s finding himself being in these roles of decision-making for a group. He’s got people to protect. It’s a much different Daryl than we’re used to seeing. He just makes decisions based on whatever he felt he wanted to do or whatever. You saw last year, where Daryl’s visiting Hilltop and then Alpha knocks on the door and says, “I want my daughter back, who’s in charge here?” Nobody says anything, so Daryl was like, “Okay, I’ll do it.”
Then he’s put in this position of protecting other people, not just himself. So you’ve got a bunch of scared people making all these decisions in the wrong direction and Daryl’s running, trying to fix things and keep the group together. There’s the risk/reward and the threat that they bring. It’s almost like a virus that’s coming into town and people are getting sick and it’s a whole other thing.
What about Daryl and Carol? We saw that long scene in the trailer of the two of them together.
Daryl, he’s kind of got his side-eye on Carol right now. She’s been through a lot with him in the last year, and he’s kind of worried about her and she’s not necessarily making the best decisions. I think that scene in particular, she’s tense, sitting around going, “What if?” There’s got to be more than this?”
They’re exhausted from this battle that never seems to end, and routinely sort of daydreaming about where they’d rather be and what they’d rather be doing. I’m not saying it’s a premonition to the future, I’m not saying that it’s not. But it’s the two of them, two really good friends sitting on a log and having a moment just sort of daydreaming about what their lives could be if they weren’t trapped there doing that.
This is going to be Danai Gurira’s last season. What can you say about sending her off in style? I know how personally you take it when the longtime cast members leave and how hard it is. So what was that like for her and for you?
Yeah, it was really sad for me. I had become so close to Danai and I just adore her. She’s somebody that always shows up at and brings the noise every single time she’s on camera and she’s become a really good friend, a partner. I get it though, she has other things that she wants to do. Her dream is she’ll run a show. That’s what her dream’s been for a while, and now’s her time to do it.
I can’t be mad at her, like I can’t be mad at [Andrew Lincoln] to want to be with his kids. You can’t be mad at him if he missed them endlessly. Her last day, we had some fireworks and gave her a send-off. We miss Danai. She’s such a strong part of our cast and such a valuable member of our family and so I miss her all the time.
Season 10 of The Walking Dead premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.
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