Walking Dead's Kirkman explains the 'Daryl effect' and differences between comic and TV

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Jan 25, 2016, 4:21 PM EST (Updated)

As anyone who has ever read The Walking Dead comic and then watched the television series can attest, they’re very different takes on the same story. The reason, according to creator Robert Kirkman? Daryl Dixon.

The fan-favorite TV-only character, played by Norman Reedus, has had a profound impact in shaking up the classic storylines from the comic on AMC’s version of the story. He’s risen from a side character to leader among the group, and he’s one of the few original characters to actually still be alive. We like to call it “The Daryl Effect.”

During a panel at Amazing Arizona Comic Con, Kirkman opened up about the specific effect Daryl has in the writer’s room, and it's amazing to see that it’s really this one character who has largely accounted for the different storyline changes between the two media. Kirkman said Daryl’s presence is the catalyst that lets them reimagine the comic while simultaneously paying homage to the stories fans know and love. Fascinating.

Check out the comments below:

“I guess it wouldn’t be a bad thing if Daryl Dixon showed up in the comic. But I don’t know. I really like the separation. I like that when we sit down to write the show one of the first things we deal with is: ‘How does Daryl Dixon change this story?’ Because we always start from: ‘Ok, we like this part of the comic. How are we going to do it?’

And it’s just always interesting to get in there and be like, ‘Oh, well his existence and the fact that his personality is this, and he would behave this way, means that he would react to this person differently than this and differently than that.’ And it’s just really a great thing for the show that he doesn’t exist in the comic. And I really like that.

But yeah, I don’t know. It would be cool if he was in the comic, but I don’t really have any plans on doing that. But I guess he would be the one if I was going to pull any character from the show into the comic, it would be him. Mostly just because I love Norman [Reedus]. Handsome dude.”

It’s amazing that a character who wasn’t even in the comics has inspired such extreme fan devotion, but Reedus is admittedly hella-charismatic. Considering the large role Daryl plays in the writers room, here’s hoping that’s a positive sign that he'll be sticking around for the long haul.

What do you think? Is Daryl one of your favorites?

(Via ComicBook.com)