Last night was a very traumatic time in the The Walking Dead fandom for a number of reasons (spoilers in that link)—tragic character death! Horrible social media spoilers! Undead people everywhere! But for those of us who’d been encouraged in the past by creator Robert Kirkman’s coyness surrounding Daryl Dixon’s sexual orientation, the series had one final punch in the gut for us when the TWD creator appeared on Talking Dead after the episode aired. But! There’s a silver lining.
Kirkman addressed the speculation—that he himself instigated, by the way—thusly:
“We play Daryl Dixon as being somewhat asexual on the show. He’s a very introverted character and I think that’s some of his appeal. I do have to clear something up, though: in the letter column of the comic book that I do, I mentioned that there was a possibility early on about making Daryl Dixon’s character gay. It caused quite a hubbub online and I just wanted to clarify that the possibility is there and that I would have been fine with it, the network would have been fine with it, but we ultimately didn’t do that. I can make it official: Daryl Dixon is straight.”
He also noted that the show plans to bring in a “very prominent gay character from the comics” sometime in the second half of the season—most likely Paul “Jesus” Monroe, we’re guessing.
As much as so many of us longed to welcome Daryl Dixon into the pantheon of oft-underrepresented gay characters, it’s at least encouraging to hear Kirkman call him asexual, as this is also a sexual identity that’s very often overlooked by mainstream media (and for the record, asexuality is an incredibly wide spectrum that includes room for heterosexuality as well, so Daryl’s being straight don’t necessarily negate that at all).
Still, I’ll admit that I’d much rather have seen the show take a risk and establish an already beloved character as gay, rather than bring in a new face that the audience will have less of a connection with in the first place—and despite Kirkman’s use of the term “asexual,” I have doubts that The Walking Dead will ever really explore that aspect of Daryl’s character in a meaningful and representational way. Oh well… I guess at least the Carol/Daryl shippers have something to still hope for, right?
- Robert Kirkman Comments on Rumors That Daryl Dixon Might Be Gay
- The Walking Dead Showrunner Scott Gimple Discusses Daryl’s Sexuality
- Norman Reedus Is Totally OK With Playing Daryl Dixon As Gay
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