When The Walking Dead returns for Season 7, somebody's brains are going to be spread all over the floor -- and not just fans' gray matter, from spending all summer trying to figure out the mystery of who the villainous Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) killed. Nope, 100% definitely, for real, a cast member (or maybe members, plural) is exiting the woodsy clearing where Negan gathered the Grimes Gang with about eight pounds taken off their shoulders.
Is the victim Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), the soulful former pizza boy who suffered the same fate in the comics the show is based on? Maybe it's Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan), who wasn't looking too well when we last saw her, and has evidence mounting against her survival. It could even be former military man Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), defiant until the very end.
There's one possibility we haven't considered though, a possibility that is making fans more nervous than trying to take a candy bar from a walker's pocket.
Is Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) going to die?
Potential, and some actual spoilers for The Walking Dead past this point.
Excuse me for a moment: Hahahahahahaha ahah ahah ha ha ha ha ha ha haaahahahhh.
What? Daryl? Dying? Ahahahahahaha hhahahahahhhahhahahahhahhah ha ha ha HAHAHAHAHHAHHAAHAHAHA!!! HA HA HA! Ha! Heh.
Let me ask you a question: Is Disney going to kill off Mickey Mouse? Will McDonald's approve an ad where Ronald gets his brains bashed in? The answer to both is, "no way." And that's why Daryl will never, ever die.
Reedus' Daryl is the face of the franchise. He's the brand even more than Rick (Andrew Lincoln) -- ostensibly the star of the show -- or even the zombies. Books, video games, t-shirts, action figures... Daryl is on all of them. And as much as TWD likes to maintain this "no one is safe" idea, Daryl is safe as houses.
Would I like Daryl to be un-safe? Sure! I love Reedus, and Daryl is iconic; but there would be no better way to prove anyone can die on TWD at any time than if they killed Daryl. Would fans also riot? Yeah. "If Daryl dies, we riot" is the fandom's motto, and I doubt they're shouting that idly. Ultimately, AMC and TWD are at the mercy of the fans; so until Reedus wants out (and maybe not even then), Daryl will live to die another day.
But what about the evidence, you say? Just like what might be Maggie's wedding ring was spotted in a pile of gore, in a sneak peek scene from Season 7, so was the blanket Daryl was wearing in Negan's clearing. Except (and granted, it's pretty dark in that scene), there doesn't seem to be any blood on the blanket, let alone brain matter or other viscera. Also? Reedus has been spotted multiple times on the set of the show; and has taped numerous promotional pieces, also from the set, and in costume.
Are very bad things going to happen to Daryl at the hand of Negan and his Saviors? Like the posters say, Negan is just getting started -- and chances are, he'll start with Daryl.
But is Daryl going to die, courtesy of Negan's barbed-wire wrapped baseball bat, Lucille? I'll let the Walking Dead cast take this one for me:
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, October 23 at 9/8c.