Spoiler alert! This article discusses The Walking Dead season seven episode three, and storylines from the comics.

The Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon is a big anomaly in the show, because he’s one of the few characters who never actually existed in the comics on which it’s based. Norman Reedus originally auditioned to play season one’s resident jerk Merle, and the creators made a brother for Merle – Daryl – because they liked Reedus so much. As long as Daryl lives, though, that means the creators have to keep thinking of ways to keep him occupied without disrupting too much the overall narrative of the comics the show is based on.

Right now that means he’s being kept separate from Rick’s group, in Negan’s compound, as a hostage of the Saviors. He’s undergoing torture – but some comic fans have suggested that Negan’s taken something of a shine to him, and that he’s actually going to take the place of another character in the comics.

That character is Carl, Rick’s son, who in the comics stows away into one of the Saviors’ vehicles in a bid to kill Negan, only to be captured and kept by the leader of the Saviors. Negan respects Carl’s toughness – in fact, he’s almost a little afraid of him – and in the comics their relationship is weirdly like father and son for a while, as long as Carl remains in captivity with him.

If Daryl has taken this role over, then it’ll provide a new way to look at Negan – and suggests he wants Daryl to be his new right-hand man – but it’s a bit early in the season to know for sure. What do you reckon – has Daryl taken Carl’s place? Let us know in the comments.