Ever since the very first season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, fans have been consumed by the show’s most central and all-important question: When, how and with whom will Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), the most eligible bachelor in the zombie apocalypse, finally fall in love?
Yes, that’s right. The romantic fate of that perpetually single, poncho-wearing greaseball extraordinaire is a mystery greater and more pressing than any other question in the entire history of The Walking Dead, including the one about how the zombie apocalypse came about in the first place. (Seriously, does anyone care about that anymore? Did they ever? Why are we even discussing this when we could be rewatching that epic post-Terminus Daryl-on-Carol hug in super slow-motion for the 500,000th time?!)
But as with all fan obsessions, there is such a point at which this one could be considered to have gone too far — and friends, it looks like we’re there. You did it, guys. You officially advanced the Daryl Dixon Ship Theory that made The Walking Dead executive producer Greg Nicotero lose his freakin’ mind ahead of the season 7 winter premiere on Sunday, February 12.
It happened during a recent panel discussion during the Walker Stalker Bahamian cruise, when a rowdy fan shouted the suggestion that sparks might someday fly between Daryl and Jesus. (No, not the legendary biblical figure, but the hot, bearded resident of the Hilltop colony, portrayed by Tom Payne.) Nicotero’s response? An emphatic nope.
“No!” the producer erupted when asked whether the two characters would ever start a romance. “There cannot be enough exclamation points after that no.”
So that’s one theory shut down hard. Meanwhile, Daryl’s most promising connection, with Carol (Melissa McBride), seems to have fizzled somewhere between Terminus and Alexandria, and fans are getting frantic about the possibility that (horror of horrors) he might never make out with anyone. Fortunately, the latest teaser for the upcoming return of season 7 does give Us something to sweat over, as it shows Daryl gently embracing and caressing the curves of his one true love: his crossbow. Ooooooh.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC Sunday, February 12, at 9 p.m. ET.