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Is it possible that The Walking Dead's Daryl Dixon might be gay? From what TWD comic-creator Robert Kirkman says on the matter, "It's been discussed." And it sounds like this is a topic that may be addressed in the show at some point.
ComicBook.com, says the question was asked in the letter column of The Walking Dead #130. A fan reportedly noted the possible parallel between Daryl and a character from the comics named Jesus, who ComicBook.com describes as "a tough character and all around badass, who also just happens to be gay." In response to the fan's inquiry, Robert Kirkman said:
All I can say is that it’s been discussed. We have very specific ideas about Daryl’s sexuality (or the seeming lack thereof), and if there’s ever a quiet period in the show where he’s not consistently distracted by crossbowing… we’ll tackle it in the show.
But would AMC let something like that fly? According to Kirkman, "For the record, they absolutely would."
That second response might imply that what he said about this being "discussed" may include conversations with the network about the possibility of Daryl being gay, and AMC presumably being ok with it.
Here's the thing. Unlike a lot of dramas on TV, The Walking Dead really doesn't place sex and romance at or near the top of the priority list. There was a romantic/sexual arc between Lori and Shane, and then Lori and Rick when they were reunited. And we've seen Maggie and Glenn fall in love, but even so, their "romance" isn't the constant roller coaster ride that it might be if these two were in some other series, falling in and out of love with one another. This is the zombie apocalypse and there's very little time for romance.
So it's not that weird that we haven't seen Daryl get together with anyone, and of course it's entirely possible that he prefers men, assuming he's never exhibited behavior to the contrary. He isn't the only character who hasn't found a mate or expressed a romantic interest in someone. Fans do ship Daryl with Carol, and some have shipped him with Beth since the two were paired up after the prison exodus. Daryl seemed to bond with both women, but it never got overtly romantic.
With the above said, Kirkman doesn't outright say Daryl's gay. He says that they have "specific ideas about Daryl's sexuality (or seeming lack thereof)" and that they might get around to addressing it if there's ever a lull in the show. So, it sounds like whatever they have in mind is more in the line of filler material than it is a crucial aspect of this character or the series. But again, how often are romance and sexuality addressed in this series? Survival is and tough choices tend to rank higher.
Let's take this speculation a step further, however, and ponder: If Daryl's sexuality is not going to be a relevant topic unless there's a "quiet period" in this zombie apocalypse, does that mean that fans shouldn't expect Daryl to have a romance at all -- either with a male or a female -- anytime soon? Kirkman's response is really just vague enough for it not to guarantee anything, but it does make me think Daryl will continue to fly solo for the time being. Or that there are no immediate plans to have Daryl connect romantically with anyone.
On a related note, which may or may not factor in to what Kirkman said about Daryl's sexuality "or seeming lack thereof," when we spoke to Norman Reedus at Comic-Con earlier this summer, he shared some insights into what Daryl might have felt for Beth when they were paired up together, saying, "If Daryl has a thing for Beth or whatever, I always saw that as, if he did, he didn’t understand those feelings. He might have felt them, but it wasn’t a thing. He was sort of uncomfortable with those feelings, but there might be hope somewhere down the line and then it was taken from him, again." (Read the rest of his comments on the subject of Beth here.)
Reedus' comments are vague but if we connect them with what Kirkman said, maybe Daryl's seeming lack of interest in romance has less to do with a sexual preference toward one gender or the other as it does to him being "uncomfortable with those feelings" for whatever the reason, and perhaps it's the same explanation that Kirkman thinks they might get around to revealing at some point. Again, we can only speculate for now.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC for Season 5 this Fall.
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