Somebody is going to die when The Walking Dead returns this Sunday to AMC. That's a given. But who? WHO? All summer, TWD fans have turned into investigative owls, combing every trailer, scene and interview for clues on the identity of Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) victim. But so far, and with mere days to go, there's no clear indication of which way the bat will swing.
...Or is there? We've culled together every possible clue to form the definitive list ranking the possible victims; but ultimately the only one who knows the real answer is Negan — and the one who is exiting the show on Sunday night (and a bunch of production and PR people, of course).
[Note: I left out any pairings, despite the rumors Negan will kill multiple cast members, just because otherwise we'll all go crazy.]
11. Rick (Andrew Lincoln)
Of every character trapped in Negan's woodsy clearing, Rick is the only one who is 100% safe. Beyond being the star of the show, former Sherriff Grimes is also the only threatened character who has been seen alive in Season 7 footage. That doesn't mean some bad stuff isn't coming for him (it is), but he'll survive Negan's barbed-wire bat, Lucille.
10. Carl (Chandler Riggs)
The li'l psychopath is also free and clear. We haven't seen him alive, but Rick's son is threatened by Negan right before he kills... Whoever he kills. Negan tells the assembled crowd that if anyone tries to stop him, they should cut out Carl's eyeball and feed it to "his father." Wouldn't have the same impact if everything in Carl's head was pulverized with a baseball bat.
9. Daryl (Norman Reedus)
Boy, AMC sure wants you to think Daryl is in danger. He's not. He's Daryl. Norman Reedus is the most popular actor on this show, and Daryl is the most popular character. Merle's little brother is headed for a load of trouble, but not of the "getting made into goo" kind of trouble.
8. Aaron (Ross Marquand)
I love Ross Marquand, but Aaron's death wouldn't have nearly enough emotional impact to affect the rest of the season. And Marquand was the only actor in the line-up, beyond Rick and Carl, who didn't show up for The Walking Dead's New York Comic Con panel. That certainly seems to indicate the trio were busy filming scenes while everyone else was living it up at Madison Square Garden.
7. Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green)
The next few candidates are a matter of degrees, but of all of them I'd venture Sasha is the safest. She's been through hell, and the show likes to put characters who have been through hell through even more hell. But more importantly, Sasha has taken the sniper/sharpshooter role Andrea had in the comics, which — without getting into spoilers — will be pretty crucial going forward.
6. Rosita (Christian Serratos)
I guess Rosita could die, but it goes back to what I mentioned about Sasha: Walking Dead has a tendency to kill off characters the moment they achieve happiness. After Abraham dumped her (when he realized there was more than just one woman left alive in the world), she's been a wreck. We'll get to see her play out those emotions going forward, particularly if our number three choice is the one taken off the board.
5. Eugene (Josh McDermitt)
A lot of fans are worried about Eugene, since his arc — pretending to be a government scientist trying to cure the zombie plague — is over. He could certainly die, but again going back to the comics there's a lot more for Eugene to do going forward. He's been searching for a use for what skills he has, and they're going to be necessary for what's to come. I'm being vague, but think about the crucial bullet machine scene between Abraham and Eugene last season, where the duo finally settled their differences, and you'll probably be able to figure out what's next for the King of Mullet-town.
4. Michonne (Danai Gurira)
Right after the finale aired, like the rest of the world I tried to break down Negan's "Eeny, meeny, miny, mo" speech to figure out who he killed. Ignoring that Negan clearly doesn't know how to play that game, the breakdown indicated that Michonne, Sasha or Eugene were the most likely victims, with an edge towards Michonne — who was left out of most of the footage. At this point, I'm pretty sure she's safe; but she's also in a happy couple with Rick, which means things could go south, very quickly.
3. Abraham (Michael Cudlitz)
Things aren't looking great for the biggest mother-d--- in the cast. On one hand, Cudlitz has openly talked about looking forward to seeing how the show will play out with Negan and Abraham in the mix, and discussed working hard filming the new season with TVGuide.com. On the other hand, his death would affect a good chunk of the cast (Rosita, Eugene, Sasha); and his character had already died well before this point in the comics.
2. Maggie (Lauren Cohan)
The evidence is very much stacked against the one remaining Greene daughter. There's Cohan's frequent instagrams from off set, and the multiple non-TWD projects she's lined up. But more importantly, there's the Season 7 footage, which shows blood on Rick's right side, a pile of brains and gore on Rick's right side, and most importantly what looks like Maggie's wedding ring in the pile. Oh, and in case it wasn't clear, Maggie was on Rick's right side. Add in an emotional speech at New York Comic Con that sure sounded like a goodbye speech, and Maggie would be our number one pick if it wasn't for...
1. Glenn (Steven Yeun)
Fans have known since show creator Robert Kirkman wrote Glenn's death in 2012 that the moment of reckoning was coming. The show even played with the idea in Season 6, providing a fake-out death/guessing game about Glenn's survival halfway through the season. Will fans riot if it turns out they spent all summer guessing Glenn was going to die, only to find out Glenn dies? Sure. But the moment is so iconic, it also feels inevitable that it'll happen. There may be a twist, though; so we'll have to stay tuned. Until then, we'd bet all your money on Mr. Rhee's brains ending up all over the forest floor.
Bonus: Lady Stoneheart
Just throwing this on here to see if our Editor, Liz Raftery, who knows nothing about Game of Thrones other than the name Lady Stoneheart, and knows nothing about Walking Dead other than that Negan is going to kill someone, is paying attention. Hi Liz!
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, October 23 at 9/8c.