Spoiler warning for Season 6 of The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead comics, and maybe Season 7, we'll see.
In the Season 6 finale of The Walking Dead, new villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) introduced himself by killing a major character with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. The episode ended on a cliff-hanger - we know somebody died, but not who. So the hot topic of conversation among fans during the show's summer break is speculating about who was on the receiving end. This week, TVGuide.com will be presenting and prognosticating on the most likely candidates. First was Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan). Today is Maggie's husband Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun).
Listen, I know I just said it was Maggie who dies. But it's just as likely to be Glenn.
The best evidence for it being Glenn on the show is that it was Glenn in the comics. It was a hugely traumatic death there, and it would be a hugely traumatic death here. Glenn is uniquely positioned to have a heartbreaking death, since he's a beloved character who's been on the show since the very first episode. The only other OGs left are Morgan (Lennie James), who isn't in the lineup of potential victims, and Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), who we already know are not going to die here from Negan's comment about feeding Carl's other eye to his father. The only other characters who would have anywhere near the same gut-punching impact would be Maggie or Daryl (Norman Reedus). Maggie is pregnant, sick and in the middle of a storyline where she's becoming one of Rick's top lieutenants, so killing her would be narratively inexpedient right now, and you and I both know it's not going to be Daryl. That only leaves Glenn.
The show prefers to deviate from the comics for big deaths when it can — for example, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) is already dead in the comics, having received the arrow through the eye Denise (Merritt Wever) got on the show — but this is a case where following the comic would best serve the story. If anyone is worried that following the comic would make Glenn's death less shocking or impactful, they shouldn't be — Glenn is still an expectant father being murdered in front of his wife. And director Greg Nicotero will surely make it as sickening as possible.
There's also this compelling conspiracy theory about why it's Glenn: in the finale, there were several shots from someone's point of view inside of the van where the Saviors were holding Glenn, Daryl, Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Michonne (Danai Gurira). From that perspective, what looks like Daryl's head and Rosita's head can be seen. Glenn was all the way in the back. So the theory is that the back-of-van POV foreshadows the POV shot from whomever gets their head smashed, and the back-of-van POV belongs to Glenn. This would be a clever storytelling trick I could very easily see the show doing.
If the show decides to not kill Glenn, it's because the show already killed Glenn, only to bring him back a few episodes later. Okay, Glenn didn't actually die, it was a fakeout, and it really pissed people off. Going through the whole "is Glenn really dead?" thing in Season 6 only to actually kill him in Season 7 would be cheap and borderline incompetent storytelling. His real death would make his already pretty pointless fake death completely meaningless. Which could actually be pretty cool. It would be a Game of Thrones-style attempt to break the rules of storytelling. I would sort of admire the show for doing something so crazy.
And, of course, no speculative investigation is complete without social media. Walking Dead spoiler site Spoil the Dead hasn't seen Steven Yeun on set this season, just like it hasn't seen Lauren Cohan. He was spotted near the set with Norman Reedus in May, but he may have just been there to shoot the first episode of Season 7, which was all hands on deck, since death scenes were reportedly filmed for everyone. But he hasn't been seen since then. Later that month, he was cast in a movie, Okja, which was filming in South Korea. He's been posting photos on Instagram while The Walking Dead has been shooting that don't look much like rural Georgia. And this video, uploaded a week ago, could be the biggest indicator yet that Glenn is toast: