Daryl Backstory and Origins Explained


Daryl Dixon was forced to survive through a zombie apocalypse, but his life prior to the events of The Walking Dead was equally as tragic.

Surviving a zombie apocalypse is difficult enough for the characters featured in The Walking Dead, but some figures like Daryl Dixon experienced tough situations well before the fall of society. Norman Reedus has played the fan-favorite since season 1 of the AMC drama debuted in 2010. In the decade since, Daryl emerged as a vital member of the group, acting as Rick Grimes’ right-hand man and a leader in his own right. Following the conclusion of The Walking Dead, Reedus will co-headline a spinoff alongside fellow original character Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride).

Daryl was officially introduced in the season 1 episode titled “Tell It to the Frogs.” He and his older brother, Merle Dixon, were members of the survivor group in focus despite being viewed as outsiders based on their harsh demeanors. Despite the fact that the group left Merle for dead, Daryl stuck around when the survivors relocated to the Greene family farm, and eventually, the prison. As time went on, the reserved Daryl began to open up, particularly bonding with Carol and Beth Greene. As the group continuously faced new threats, Daryl always emerged as one of the most skilled when it came to protecting himself and others, thanks to his trusty crossbow.

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Related: The Walking Dead Finally Makes Carl’s Dream A Reality

Out of all the characters featured on The Walking Dead, Daryl’s arc featured the most character growth. In the early stages of the apocalypse, Daryl was still a bit of a loner. Ten seasons later, the figure serves as one of the key leaders for the linked communities. Though he still has quiet tendencies, Daryl has gone out of his way to look after even the youngest group members like Lydia and Judith. He might be one of the last surviving original faces of the series, but his journey has been made more remarkable since Daryl’s character didn’t come from the comic books. That said, the TV show has made an effort to give Daryl a backstory, and it’s quite tragic.

Daryl Had A Tough Childhood As Revealed In Walking Dead

Michael Rooker Norman Reedus

Daryl’s admiration for his older brother was established in The Walking Dead season 1. It turned out that the Dixon brothers grew up in the mountains of Georgia with their redneck parents. Whereas their father was an abusive alcoholic, their mother also neglected her sons until her untimely death due to a house fire caused by her cigarette. Since Merle spent a lot of time in juvenile detention, Daryl learned how to fend for himself. He continued to do so when Merle joined the military, but they eventually reunited, living as drifters.

While moving from place to place, Daryl enhanced his survival skills, becoming an expert hunter and tracker. Merle got into drugs prior to the events of the apocalypse around the time that Daryl realized he didn’t have a purpose in life. When the world was turned upside down, the brothers stuck together, but thankfully, Daryl let go of his brother’s hateful views after Merle’s death in The Walking Dead. He forged his own path by not following in his brother’s footsteps and finding hope in even the darkest of situations. Merle was never a great mentor, but Daryl has the chance to guide other survivors for a better future in the remaining seasons of The Walking Dead and beyond.

Next: Walking Dead Hints At Robert Kirkman’s Zombie Origin Being Canon

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Updated: December 5, 2020 — 9:54 pm

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