SERIES PREVIEW – The search for a worthy successor to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) has been ongoing since The Walking Dead began, and the franchise’s next spinoff may answer that question. Rick has been a staple of the show since his debut in 2010, but after Andrew Lincoln’s departure in season nine, the creators have been scrambling to find a new central character. While Rick’s son Carl (Chandler Riggs) would have been the ideal choice, he was killed off before Rick left the screen, leaving a huge void.
The franchise’s upcoming Daryl Dixon-centric spinoff could be the perfect platform to finally find out if Rick has found a worthy successor. After Rick’s departure, the show had more than two years to shape Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) into the new protagonist, who will be the sole central character for the first time in the spinoff. Even before Rick’s departure, the show often broke the main storyline into smaller threads with alternating characters. This approach has continued after Rick’s departure, but has made it harder to tell who the action is now revolving around. The show is more ensemble or ensemble actor-centered than driven by a clear protagonist.
Daryl Dixon: the most likely successor to Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead
Finding a replacement for Rick Grimes is a nearly impossible task, but if there’s a contender, it’s Daryl Dixon. A longtime fan favorite, the character has been on the show since season one and has held his own among the survivors. He is one of the most consistent members of the main cast and has appeared in the most episodes. Because he had no role in the comic books, the show’s creators had a lot of freedom to develop Daryl’s character, and they managed to make him one of the most iconic survivors.
Daryl has proven himself time and again, often as Rick Grimes’ right-hand man. He has proven himself to be one of the most skilled and dedicated survivors in the entire franchise. Since Rick’s departure, Daryl has risen to prominence, playing a key role in the Whisperers, Reapers, and Commonwealth storylines. In addition, Daryl has become one of the closest people to Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming), whom he, like Rick, has helped guide and protect.
There are also arguments that Daryl might be a better leader than Rick. Based on seasons 10 and 11, Daryl Dixon is the closest thing to Rick Grimes. The show’s growing ratings also suggest that he would be best suited to take on the central role of The Walking Dead.
Daryl Dixon’s solo spinoff: the ultimate test to replace Rick Grimes
While Daryl Dixon has undoubtedly filled the void left by Rick on The Walking Dead, his solo spinoff will be the true test of his ability to take on the central role of Rick Grimes. “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” is the platform where Daryl will take center stage on his own and show that he is capable of leading the story as the main character. Although Daryl was the main character in the final seasons of the original series, other main characters were also important to the story’s progress. In the early seasons of the original series, Rick was the clear central character, with most of the major events taking place around him.
Daryl’s solo spinoff is an excellent opportunity for him to follow in Rick’s footsteps. Though he already has a well-developed and popular character, this will be his first serious test of whether he can carry an entire series on his own. Since The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon will be set in France, it is unlikely that other original protagonists will appear in the spin-off. This puts the onus on Norman Reedus to show that Daryl can really carry a show on his own and fill in for Rick Grimes. If the spinoff is not a success, the franchise may never be able to adequately replace the original protagonist.
Rick Grimes: Still the central character of The Walking Dead after five years away
Despite the fact that Daryl Dixon may be able to pick up the torch, replacing Rick Grimes will be no easy task. Although the character has been absent since season nine, he still plays an indelible role in The Walking Dead universe. Rick’s death never occurred in the original series; instead, his story ended on a thrilling cliffhanger and continues in the spin-off The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live. Rick’s return in this new series confirms that he is still a central part of the franchise after five years away. Next year, he will lead the story alongside Michonne (Danai Gurira), where they will likely encounter the mysterious CRM organization.
With the CRM group emerging as the largest and most distinctive element of the entire franchise, the organization’s likely appearance in The Ones Who Live could signal that Rick will continue to play a key role in The Walking Dead narrative. Bringing Rick back to face the most prominent group yet will further cement his importance in the franchise. It’s unthinkable to end the series without Rick, which is why he made a brief cameo in the finale and brought us his spinoff. While Daryl’s role will be no less important to the franchise going forward, the full conclusion of The Walking Dead storyline is unlikely to happen without Rick Grimes.