The Walking Dead has gone through many changes over its nine seasons. With the tenth getting ready to start soon, fans are hoping things will continue improving. Warning, spoilers ahead.
Seasons six through eight were a rough period. Not only did the nomadic era of the show officially give way to the world-building era, but the cast bloated to a size that made it hard to keep up with who was where or why fans should even care.
Add in the fact the antagonists during this time were a ruthless protection racket who brutally subjugated the group, and it was hard to stick around. Things didn’t get any better when the show’s pace slowed to a crawl, and many of the key characters left.
With Glenn, Abraham, and Carl gone, the show had become nearly unrecognizable from what fans were used to. Season nine got things back on track to some degree, showcasing a tighter cast with the focus remaining on Daryl, Carol, and Michonne, three of the show’s longest-tenured regulars.
With two of them being around since season one and the other since the season two finale, they are the familiar faces the show desperately needs to keep the focus on. Even though there are rumors Michonne will be leaving in season ten, the new artwork features all three.
Daryl and Carol are the last of the show’s originals. Both have been around since the first season, and fans have watched them grow immensely throughout the program’s run.
Daryl started as an anti-social, sometimes hateful individual who was hard to get along with and even harder to trust. While he’s still somewhat of a loner, he’s become one of the most selfless and helpful characters in the show, with his rough exterior now only reserved for those who do he and his friends wrong.
Carol started as a timid woman trapped in an abusive relationship. She would slowly find her strength throughout the seasons and eventually become one of the group’s best combatants. She dispatched both the Termites and the Wolves nearly on her own, saving the group on both occasions.
Daryl and Carol have also seen their relationship evolve over the seasons, hinting at everything from an inseparable friendship to even a romantic interest. Given Daryl grew up with an abusive father, both characters share a rough past and therefore relate to one another. The scene where Henry was found dead in season nine was similar to the one where Sophia was found zombified in season two – with Daryl holding Carol in his arms on both occasions.
If the show is to continue its run, the focus must remain closely on the main characters. With the leading man, Rick Grimes, officially departing from the show last season, Daryl and Carol are undeniably the biggest attractions. Luckily, another regular who was around since season two, Maggie, will be returning soon as well.