It's the mystery The Walking Dead fans have been obsessed with since the Season 6 finale on April 23: who did Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) kill? And now we finally have some solid evidence about who will kick the bucket when the show returns. So get ready for some serious heartbreak, #TWDFamily.
Potential spoilers for The Walking Dead past this point!
Before we get into the new evidence, though, let's recap. New villain Negan had rounded up our post-apocalyptic heroes in the woods, got them to their knees, and then played a deadly game of Eeny, Meeny, Miny Moe, using his barb-wired baseball bat named Lucille.
Then viewers were treated to the point of view of the loser of that game, as Negan told the Grimes Gang they could cry, they could scream, but if anyone moved, he'd cut out Carl's (Chandler Riggs) other eyeball and feed it to his father, Rick (Andrew Lincoln). And then the bat fell, the screaming started, and we cut to black.
And that footage has been analyzed more than Robert De Niro whenever he's in a movie with Billy Crystal, with no real success — mainly because the Eeny, Meeny sequence was shown out of order, and the only identifying characteristics behind Negan were a blank night sky. So it's pretty much been the best kept secret on TV.
Still, we've had our guesses. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) was deathly ill, and pregnant, so when producers teased that there would be multiple deaths in the premiere, fans instantly thought that meant Maggie and her wee behbeh. Add in our own Instagram detective work, which showed Cohan decidedly not in Atlanta or the surrounding area, and you had some compelling evidence that Maggie was gonna kick the bucket.
The most popular choice, though, is still Glenn (Steven Yeun), who was the victim of Negan's bat in the comics. The gory, bloody event found the former pizza boy getting his brains graphically bashed in, as Rick and the rest of the gang watched. Not only did this break apart the most popular couple on the show (Glenn and Maggie), but it also killed off one of the most innocent, hopeful characters. Yep, somehow, Walking Dead found a way to get grimmer.
And the third choice? Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), who was spotted without his signature red hair at conventions. On the other hand, Cudlitz seems to have shot that down through various interviews (including with TVGuide.com), where he's talked about how this season has been grueling to film, and how much he's enjoyed pitting Abraham against Negan. He could be lying, of course, but still.
So, who's going to die? Why are we still talking about this, with mere days to go before the season premiere? That's because of three new pieces of evidence. The first and second are from a new scene, from the premiere, that takes place right after Negan kills whoever he kills.
Shown off at the show's New York Comic Con panel, the scene teases another huge event from the comics, when Rick Grimes loses his right hand. The scene leaves off on a cliffhanger, as Negan drags Rick into his trailer, along with a hatchet and a promise that Rick's about to be punished, hardcore. But the most interesting bit is when the camera pans down to show the brains and bits of viscera left from Negan's very grim take on Wiffle ball.
Look, I'm no CSI or anything, but if you bash someone's brains in, they usually can't fly through another person, or even across the room/clearing in the woods. And the person who was situated right next to Rick in the lineup, from the direction the brains seem to be seeping from? That would be our No. 1 choice, Maggie.
Is it possible the brains and gore dripped off Lucille as Rick walked all the way from Glenn (who was on the far right from Rick) or Abraham (who was on the right of Maggie)? Sure, I guess. But as Sherlock Holmes likes to say, "Gross, dude." And also, the simplest explanation, etc., etc.
The second piece of evidence, from the same shot, was caught by some eagle-eyed fans. As the camera pans down, you can see the blanket Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) was wearing. When we last left Daryl, he had been shot in the shoulder, and was in bad shape only second to Maggie.
But come on, Daryl's not going anywhere. He's basically a money press for AMC, let alone Daryl's story is far from done. He's safe.
The horrifying bit comes when you look to the right in the pile of viscera. If you squint your eyes, you can see something shiny and metallic... Something fans have identified as Maggie's wedding ring:
In case you don't have the eyes of an eagle, here it is blown up, compared to her ring as seen on her non-severed finger in previous seasons:
Could it have fallen off her finger? Sure. Could Negan have bashed Glenn's brains in, and then Maggie was all like, "Hooray, we're not married anymore!" (or more realistically, left her wedding ring with the remains of her husband) — also, sure. But that's definitely Maggie's wedding/engagement ring, the one given to her by Glenn at the end of Season 3. Given the pile of teeth right next to it, seems like Maggie will be exploring the "'til death do us part" part of her off-screen vows.
There's one more piece of "evidence," though, something that has been bothering me since I sat through Saturday's panel. This is definitely reading into things, but for the most part the cast and crew — despite having known for months now who Negan killed — were all in good spirits, and even teased their characters' journeys next year, as if one of them wasn't about to say goodbye.
There was one exception, and that was Cohan. When asked by moderator Chris Hardwick what she thought was so great about Glenn and Maggie's relationship, she instead started crying. She responded to executive producer Greg Nicotero's previous mention that the show would reach 99 episodes at the end of Season 7, and reach 100 with the Season 8 premiere.
"You've all been on such an incredible journey with us," Cohan said, crying. "This is larger than our lives, larger than our show. This is such a great privilege."
It was a touching moment, and afterwards Cohan composed herself enough to discuss #Glaggie. But there's a few ways her torrent of emotion could be read. Certainly she could have just been overwhelmed about the show reaching a major milestone. She could have been tired from the long days of shooting and the press tour. She could have even been filled with warmth from the thousands of fans packed into the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
But frankly, to me? It seemed like a very carefully worded goodbye.
Look, clearly Cohan — or whoever exits the show — will have another chance to post-mort (literally) their exit when AMC broadcasts a 90-minute long Talking Dead after the premiere. That's also going to be live, with thousands of fans. But New York Comic Con has always been one of the biggest events for the show (last year's Madison Square Garden premiere was one of the most insane events I've ever been to, in a long line of insane events), and a prime moment to first, truly feel that goodbye tour.
To me, it seemed like Cohan realized that she really was saying goodbye to the show, in front of the crowd, and that the show would live long beyond her time on it as Maggie. I could be wrong, sure, but look at what she said and how she said it. When the rest of the cast was playful and looking forward, Cohan was brought to tears looking back on her time with The Walking Dead.
So, yeah, if I was a betting man, I'd put all my money on Maggie not making it out of the season premiere. Whatever happens, though, we only have mere days until we find out. And as the cast has already said multiple times, that's just the start of the darkest season yet. Yikes.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 9/8c.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include the section about Maggie's wedding/engagement ring.