As Season 9 of The Walking Dead progresses, things will most certainly feel different as the complexion of the cast changes. Some familiar faces will be missing from the start, while others will exit the show as the season progresses.
One original character who'll be noticeably absent from the start is Chandler Rigg's Carl Grimes, following his controversial death last season. But the series' highest profile exit is yet to come when Carl's father, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), departs as well.
Rick will be phased out over the course of next season, something that's perhaps difficult to imagine given he's been the bedrock, from the beginning of not just of the TV show, but the comic. Nonetheless, Lincoln wants to leave and as such, the show will have to move on in his aftermath.
AMC is already in the process of locking Norman Reedus into a new contract that'll see Daryl Dixon elevated to the leader of the group. However, given the show's narrative so far, not to mention the very nature of Daryl, he's simply not the right choice to replace Rick and assume this mantle.
By making Daryl leader, the writers would have to change the very essence of what makes him, well, Daryl. He's never been one to play by the rules, which is what he'll have to do if he assumes responsibility of Alexandria and its alliance with the Hilltop and Kingdom. His freedom to do the unconventional, roam free from the group when he desires defines his character. He doesn't play house, he looks out for his camp as a rogue scouring the outside world, scouting on missions where he just has to worry about his own back, ergo pinning him down like this doesn't play to his strengths.
As leader, this out-of-the-box dynamic will have to change, and the character could very well wind up permanently damaged as a result.