The Walking Dead, despite the current rating slump, is still the most watched show on television. There is certainly no end in sight for Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon and Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes. Presumably, 11 million to 14 million fans are grateful for that.
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon on The Walking Dead has been an unexpected asset in the zombie apocalypse. Reedus has created a spot for his alter ego within a comic book-based series in which Daryl was never a character.
Occasionally, The Waking Dead has diverged strongly from the comics, but Season 7 has been very by-the-book, leaving Norman Reedus's Daryl Dixon the only wild card still in the deck. In a world where everyone else has their destiny foreordained by a comic book, Daryl Dixon has a unique place in the series. Daryl Dixon keeps The Walking Dead interesting, even for those who have memorized the comics.While The Walking Dead has no end in sight, Michael Rooker -- who portrayed Merle Dixon, Daryl Dixon's brother -- has written one. Comic Book quotes Rooker's statements at the Walker Stalker Con.
"A railroad track... going on forever, into the setting sun. From behind camera, a single individual walks down the middle of the track...into the setting sun. You realize that individual is Carl...all grown-up, a man of his own. No one else is with him—just him."
In Walking Dead language, does that means Carl will be the ultimate sole survivor? Of course, it could be that The Walking Dead will run for so long that Carl and Judith will be the only current cast members young enough to still walk around.
Geriatric Norman Reedus and Rick Grimes as Daryl and Rick, unable to outrun the Walking Dead zombies anymore, is a rather disturbing thought, but what about Judith Grimes? What is Michael Rooker saying about Judith's chances of surviving this frightening Zombie-infested world?
Rooker continues describing his vision for the final scene of The Walking Dead.
"And as he does his voiceover, you realize that all the seasons that you've seen is him reliving his past. So everyone on the show is dead. He's the only survivor, and he's on his own and walks off into the sunset. And that's the end of the show."
What would Norman Reedus' Daryl Dixon fans do then? "If Daryl Dies We Riot," but what if everybody dies? No, the end of The Walking Dead is inconceivable at this point, right?
Whatever The Walking Dead's final scene will be, Robert Kirkman has thought about it, but he has plenty of time to work out the details. Comic Book has the answer to the dreaded question of whether or not Kirkman had thought about an ending for The Walking Dead.
"Yes, but y'know... It's not happening for a long, LOOOOOONG time."
Robert Kirkman confided that he had originally planned to end the comic book when Rick and friends reached Alexandria. Wow, a happy ending, who would have thought? But no, it couldn't be that easy. Now, according to Comic Book, Robert Kirkman says the Walking Dead comic will end differently than the television series. Will Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon again make a difference in the outcome?
The Walking Dead TV series will perhaps not be so tied to the comic in the distant future, as it has been in Season 7. That would please some fans and disturb others. Some fans love it when the show is by the book, but others long for divergence, especially during Season 7A.
Norman Reedus' spectacularly dramatic nude performance as Daryl Dixon in Episode 3 actually upset a lot of viewers even more than Glenn's horrific demise. Fans could not stand seeing Daryl Dixon humiliated. There will be more deaths this season, but will they be quite so close to home as the losses in 7A? Should Daryl Dixon fans prepare to riot? Norman Reedus has a phenomenal following as Daryl, so perhaps it would not be wise.
One Walking Dead mystery has been solved, though, and it comes as no surprise to those who remember the beginnings of Judith. On Sunday, November 13, for those too depressed by Season 7A to notice, Rick explained Judith's paternity, according to Us Weekly.
"I know Judith isn't mine. I know it. I love her. She's my daughter. But she isn't mine. I had to accept that. I did. So I could keep her alive. I'll die before she does, and I hope that's a long time from now so I can raise her, protect her, and teach her how to survive. This is how we live now. I had to accept that, too, so I could keep everyone else alive."
So Judith is really Shane's daughter, but it doesn't really matter now since Shane is dead and Rick has simply accepted it. Still, is Judith ill-fated, perhaps destined to die in the Walking Dead TV series? Hopefully, Michael Rooker is wrong about that. Where will the war coming in Season 7B leave this cute little tot?
In the comics, Judith dies in the prison due to the attack of the Woodbury Army. So, in a very real way, Judith Grimes is a wildcard like Norman Reedus's Daryl Dixon. Judith's fate has yet to be decided.
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Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon worked out rather well and so has Judith, who gives the audience a continuing reason to care more. Will there be more wild cards added to the mix in the future to keep the audience guessing? Perhaps live action should be a bit different than the graphics representation at least sometimes.
So, how much Walking Dead material is left? After six years, the series was at issue 100. It is near 104 now, at mid-season. There are currently 61 more issues, and the comic book is still being written, so there will be new material for years to come.
The Walking Dead with Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon and Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes still has a long path ahead. And what of Judith?
Will The Walking Dead still be running when Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln are old and gray, or perhaps Carl will hobble off into the sunset leaning heavily on Judith in Season 70?
[Featured Image by Jesse Grant/Getty Images]