Final Predictions: Who Will Die in The Walking Dead Season Finale?
After a half season of build-up, we're finally about to meet Negan (and Lucille) in the bloody, "tragic" season finale on Sunday. We all know that a member of the main cast is going to die on Sunday, both because it's a season finale and because Negan's introduction necessitates carnage, but who is it going to be? After a year of speculation, fake-outs, and anticipation, here are our final predictions for all of the contenders, vaguely in order from most to least likely:
Spoilers for The Walking Dead season six and comics ahead!
Pro: This one's a no-brainer. Glenn is the one who dies during Negan's iconic arrival in the comics, a famous death scene that the show would probably think twice about changing. Although the show often switches things up in order to surprise the audience, that might have been the entire purpose of the "Where's Glenn?" fiasco, to make us think that Glenn was invulnerable for the foreseeable future and throw us off the scent.
Furthermore, Steven Yeun has just been cast as the star of a new movie. I wouldn't think that this means anything, since other cast members have filmed movies during breaks, except that the movie starts filming right about now, and the cast returns to film season seven in mid-April or early May, at latest. That doesn't give him a lot of time to film a starring role in a movie if he's coming back for season seven.
Con: The flip side to that coin is that we will all be annoyed as f*ck if it's actually Glenn. That fake-out death was a spectacular failure, and killing him off now would be completely predictable and anti-climactic. I wouldn't put it past them, necessarily, especially since they probably planned which character they were going to kill long before they saw the reception to Glenn's fake death. But I wouldn't recommend it to them, either. Plus, now that Enid seems to be living with Maggie and Glenn, she might be fulfilling Sophia's role as surrogate daughter in the comics, which means the writers may be setting Glenn up to develop that relationship further next season.
Pro: Daryl is the obvious choice if it isn't Glenn. He's a fan favorite, so his death would have at least an equal impact on the audience, and he doesn't have a comics counterpart, so this is a way to give him a memorable death from the comics. And in the context of the plot, Negan is a big fan of retribution, and Daryl was the first to kill a bunch of Saviors with a rocket launcher (although that might have been overshadowed by Rick, Glenn, and co. killing Saviors in their sleep). Plus, the recently introduced character Jesus seems poised to serve Daryl's function in the cast in some ways, as he's a skilled tracker who's handsome, lovable, and generally a bad-ass.
And finally, Norman Reedus is set to appear on Talking Dead after the finale, which is pretty much a death knell. His fate seems to be sealed, but on the other hand...
Con: Fans will riot. The Walking Dead's ratings are hardly in trouble, but it's difficult to imagine AMC greenlighting a character death that may actually stop some fans from watching. If Glenn dies, or Abraham, or even Carol, fans will be upset, but Daryl might be the only one who would make fans burn AMC studios down. It was even revealed to Tech Insider that the line "You'll be all right" at the end of last week's shitshow of an episode was added after the episode was shot in order to reassure fans that Daryl wasn't killed by that gunshot wound.
And yeah, let's talk about that gunshot wound. I said earlier this season that Walking Dead would probably kill off Daryl because they would want to show that no one is safe, and this is probably their answer to fans taking it for granted that Daryl could never die. Austin Amelio, who plays Dwight, confirmed that Daryl didn't die from the gunshot wound to the shoulder (of course), and now it seems very unlikely that they would fake his death just to kill him off at the end of next episode. Again, we shouldn't put anything past them, but that doesn't make very much narrative sense.
And the Talking Dead appearance looks bad, to be sure, but if they were really going to kill Daryl, why would they reveal that ahead of time? Wouldn't they have kept it a secret, and teased a "surprise cast member" as they sometimes do? They're not only not hiding it, they're promoting it, which makes me think it's a red herring. It's not like they're above tricking their audience or anything.
Pro: Abraham dies around this time in the comics, and Robert Kirkman has stated that one of his only regrets is not keeping Abraham alive long enough to come up against Negan. So it would make perfect sense if he still died at the hands of the Saviors, but was given Glenn's comic book death, especially considering that Abraham's death was (inappropriately and offensively) given to Denise. Plus, he just found happiness with Sasha (and was an asshole to Rosita in the process), and we all know that someone who's newly in love is in a prime position to be killed off.
Con: Fans like Abraham, but his death wouldn't have nearly the impact of either Glenn or Daryl, so I'm more inclined to think it will be an original character. Still, it actually doesn't look very good for this character.
Pro: Carol seemed safe at the beginning of the season, but the back half of season six has made it seem like the writers are in a rush to conclude her arc. She's suddenly feeling remorse and trying to seek redemption, which is never a good sign for a character's lifespan, and is making idiotic decisions that are separating her from the group and putting her in danger. She's also a fan favorite who died a long time ago in the comics, so a lot of the reasoning for Daryl applies to Carol as well.
Con: First, Robert Kirkman seems to love writing for Melissa McBride, and has heavily implied that if anyone is truly "safe," it's Carol. And if they're faithful to the comics, Negan is supposed to have a "code of honor" that doesn't allow him to kill women. Plus, her whole reason for leaving was that she didn't want to kill for the people she loves, so it's probably a more logical end to her arc if she comes back in the nick of time to save everyone (except for the person who dies) by killing a bunch of Saviors.
Pro: Morgan has technically been a part of the show since the pilot, but his death wouldn't scare off any viewers, which makes him a perfect character to kill off. his death would also be thematically in keeping with the show, as it would demonstrate that there is no room for pacifism in this harsh post-apocalyptic world. (Plus, we all know Walking Dead loves killing off their black men.)
Con: People are so annoyed with Morgan at this point that his death would be a relief to most people, which could be interpreted as either a pro or a con. But again, they probably planned which character they were going to kill before this season started, which means they wouldn't have known the audience's reaction to his zen storyline this year. So for all the writers knew, he could still have been a fan favorite by now.
Pro: Michonne is another beloved character whose death would have a huge impact on the audience, and she just started dating Rick, which is historically not a good sign for characters' longevity.
Con: See above re: Negan and women. Plus, Scott Gimple has stated that Michonne and Rick are broadly emulating Rick's relationship with Andrea in the comics, which is still ongoing. Which just leaves us with one dark horse candidate:
Pro: In the comics, Glenn dies trying to protect Maggie and their unborn child, so Maggie's death would evoke that iconic moment from the comics but would still surprise the viewers. And while many are saying that killing a pregnant woman is going too far, even for Walking Dead, the cast members' reactions to the episode (particularly Lauren Cohan's) indicate that Negan's arrival might be an extra level of disturbing:
Although Negan beating someone's brains out with Lucille is very upsetting on its own, these quotes might make more sense if Maggie dies, along with her unborn child. And since Maggie was experiencing some sort of ominous pregnancy pain at the end of last episode, they're clearly using this pregnancy as some sort of device for the finale.
Con: In all likelihood, Maggie's pregnancy complications will mean that she has to go to Hilltop (now that their only doctor is dead), which will place her in the crossfire of Negan and the Saviors. Since this is a sexist show, it seems much more likely that Glenn and/or Daryl (Glenn because it's his baby, Daryl because he loves babies) will place themselves in harm's way to save her. And on the flip side of the social justice coin, it seems unlikely that the writers will kill off Maggie now, considering that she's been positioned to become the leader of Hilltop next season, like she is in the comics.
What do you think?