‘The Walking Dead’: Michael Rooker Talks About His Return As ‘Merle Dixon’

The Walking Dead producers saw fit to bring back Daryl Dixon’s feisty brother Merle, during Season 3. The character is one many fans love to hate. Faithful viewers are anxiously waiting for the moment that Daryl and Merle reunite. Even if the siblings enjoy a hearty embrace, there will still likely be some fireworks when Rick and T-Dog see the prodigal group member resurface.

During a press conference to promote TWD Season 3, Michael Rooker had this to say about the return of his character:

“After knowing that I was actually going to be back, I was wondering when, so yeah, it’s good to be back. I returned for that scene in Season 2, when Daryl was in that delusional state. That poor kid was going to meet his maker and he didn’t have the balls to get up and climb that mountain, so he had to bring back his brother in his own mind to kick his a** and give him a little tough love and tell him to get his butt up before I kick his teeth in.”

Rooker also fondly recalled the brief appearance during Season 2 of The Walking Dead as “fun” and thought it was a good moment for the pair of brothers, according to the Books & Review website. The actor added this about the scene in the woods when Daryl was searching for little Sophia:

“I saw it as a very positive scene, but a lot of people saw it like, ‘Dude, he’s so mean to his brother!’ I was like, what are you talking about? He’s dying, and he brings his own brother back, in the delusional state that he’s in, to motivate him and save his life.’ It was a very, very positive delusion.”


The Walking Dead actor also considers his rather violent and drug-loving character “likeable.” Michael believes Merle really isn’t a bad guy, just a little bad at times and tough. Compared to The Governor, Merle may wind up being a teddy bear. During Episode 3, the expressions on Merle’s face when the Woodbury leader killed the National Guard soldiers did seem to indicate a bit of softening around the character’s very rough edges.