Not since Dallas’ Who Shot JR?? stunt has a series cliffhanger been this infamous. The 1979-1980 season ended with an unseen assailant capping off a few rounds into everyone’s least favourite Ewing, only for the shooter’s identity to be revealed in the fourth episode of the following season. It effectively set the internet ablaze. Okay, maybe not the internet. Postcards, fan letters, t-shirt burning rallies, radio shows, skywriting, everything revolved around JR for months. Now The Walking Dead managed to replicate that cliffhanger by keeping the identity of Negan’s victim secret for an entire year.
With Season seven only four days away, it’s time for a last-minute WHODUNIT. Of course, we already know who the killer is. This time the victim is the real mystery. The season six finale did a great job at lining up all the key players and had Negan bust one of their heads to a pulp with his trusted bat, Lucille. Problem is, they angered a lot of fans by cutting so blatantly to the victim’s POV, making it impossible to know who he or she was. The outrage has faded, however, and the entire ordeal has turned into a fun guessing game. So let’s do it!
The odds of each character being Negan’s victim will be rated out of 5 on the Kill-o-Meter. Ready? First up!
As much as I’d hate to admit it, Daryl actually has a chance of meeting Lucille. The character has managed to secure a huge fanbase and has evolved into what is maybe one of the most interesting characters on the show. Everyone LOVES him. If The Walking Dead was written by George R.R Martin, you bet your crossbow that Daryl would have been our victim. Fortunately, The Walking Dead is written by people with human hearts. Plus, I’m sure the showrunners know that a big portion of their viewership will go if Daryl goes. Here’s where it gets complicated: Daryl IS popular, which will also make him the most emotionally devastating choice. If they really want Negan to be the most hated villain the show has ever had, this is the way to go. Another problem is that Daryl isn’t a character from the comics. The writers may be in the dark on where to go with him as a character without the guidance of the comics, which would make his death all the more convenient. Let’s all just light up our Norman Reedus altar tonight and pray to the Boondock Saints God that he survives this one.
Coraaal! Can you imagine that? It would be the most emotionally packed “Coraaaal!” ever. I would make it my freaking ringtone. But it’s not Carl. Rick’s son has had quite the arc during season six, having had to adjust to the life in Alexandria as a normal kid who can play video games and eat pudding out of a bowl like a normal person. Also, he had his eye shot out which, if the comics is anything to go by, sets up his arc as Negan’s twisted fascination. The Walking Dead is nowhere near done with Carl, as the character has only recently started to receive arcs of his own. And let’s be honest, does Rick really deserve to lose the last thing holding his sanity intact? The only thing hindering Carl’s chances at living is the fact that Chandler Riggs is growing older too fast for it to make sense in the show’s time frame. Riggs probably needs to shave by now. Fortunately, the show can always skip ahead a few months after Negan-night, which would bring the actor’s pubescent phase up to where it makes sense in the show.
This is a difficult one. It may very well be Abraham. The Walking Dead is known for its love of giving a character a very emotional side-arc which allows the viewers to identify with him or her and then giving them an unexpected arrow in the eye. Remember Tyreese? Or Denise? Abraham had quite the arc in season six, falling for Sasha and breaking up with Rosita in a way you would expect from a guy with a moustache like that. We also got glimpses of what his fears and motivations are. We know now that he has as much fear and self-loathing as he has anger. He is a tragic character, which sets him up as someone who could have a very effective and untimely death. Negan could also see his brute strength and impulsiveness as a threat, which would make killing him a very smart choice. Negan doesn’t need someone on Rick’s team who is unwilling to obey. Also, many fans believe the show has done everything it can with the character and that this would be the right time to let him go. We’ve seen what happens when characters overstay their welcome (Andrea, anyone?).
I would be pissed if Aaron dies. Not because he is my favourite character, but because he isn’t an especially well-rounded character who has had much screen time and isn’t even part of the main Rick-Squad (Rick-team, Rick-group, Rick-Morty?), so audience investment in the character is very low. It would be a huge cop-out on the writers’ part if they decide to kill Aaron. It would be painfully obvious that they didn’t want to lose any of the big players so they rather opted for the one character that would impact the narrative the least. It will anger fans as well, and the writers know it. Also, Aaron is a great character who also happens to be gay. I don’t think the showrunners want fans to start theorizing that Negan is just a plain old homophobe.
Maybe Negan hates mullets. If that were the case, Eugene’s chances of living is less than zero. But Eugene has become a fan favourite in his own right, giving some of the show’s best monologues and also offering what can be regarded as the show’s comic relief. He is much more than that, however, as he also recently started developing as a character who wants to help out wherever he can despite his cowardly personality. This isn’t a character arc for the sake of killing him off, however, as Eugene as a character still has a lot of exploring left to do. I would be sad to see him go, but he has the same chances of meeting Lucille for the same reasons as Daryl. People love him and his death will be heartbreaking for a lot of people. I don’t know what Negan knows about Rick’s relationship with his people, but if he did his homework he would know that Rick isn’t particularly fond of Eugene, which makes his chances of living a little bit better. Also, I don’t think the showrunners want fans to start theorizing that Negan is just a plain old mulletphobe.
Oh, boy. Glenn. There’s a lot of theories on whether or not it will be Glenn. He is after all the one who meets Lucille in the comic books in exactly the same situation. Many fans are assuming that the show wouldn’t stick to the comics because it will lessen the surprise, but what if the showrunners know that the fans will make that assumption, and go after a huge misdirect? It can go either way. Either they stick to the source material because they know the fans won’t expect it or they won’t stick to the comics because they want to put their own stamp on the narrative. Also, Glenn has already had a “Is he dead or alive” cliffhanger in season six, and I suspect the writers wouldn’t want to cross that bridge again. However, he is the sole person to speak out against Negan during his big monologue, which could have made Negan hate him the most out of all of Rick’s people. Steven Yeun has also expressed interest in leaving the show, but with him becoming a father I suspect the show still has a lot of Glenn’s story to tell. That is… IF he becomes a father…
Which leads me to Maggie! Yes, I know. It will be downright inhumane of the writers to kill a pregnant woman in such a savage way. No doubt it will cause a ton of controversy, but since when is controversy bad publicity? Maggie is the one I’m betting on to go. Here’s why: 1) Does the show really need another baby? It already has Judith, which already reminds viewers that Rick and co has to protect someone who can’t protect themselves. Judith’s presence alone adds another layer of anxiety that viewers experience while watching the show, and two babies just seems, ironically, like overkill. 2) Maggie is very ill by the time Negan lines them up. Negan is opting to keep them alive for the sole purpose of having them provide him with supplies and resources, which means he wants capable, hardworking people, and that excludes Maggie in her current state. If he sees Maggie as weak because of her illness, he won’t think twice about getting rid of her. 3) I reiterate it would be downright f**ked-up to kill a pregnant woman. If the showrunners ever wanted Negan to be the epitome of villainy, this is the way to go. Only the most heartless person will kill a woman and her unborn child, and that is what the show essentially wants Negan to be.
Also another fan favourite, Michonne’s chances at survival shares the same reasoning as Daryl. What makes her interesting, however, is that she is romantically close to Rick. If Negan somehow knows this, he would be a fool not to crush Rick where it mattered. The season seven sneak-peak shows Rick in a state of intense heartbreak, telling Negan he will kill him for what he did. This type of threat could very well be the result of losing someone who meant a chance at a happier existence to Rick. That said, it would be a shame to see Michonne go. She is one of TV’s most bad-ass female characters and a true asset to the show’s female demographic. That said, she has recently been cast in Marvel’s Black Panther, so maybe something Neganny happens that clears up the actress’ schedule? Fortunately, her relationship with Rick is still fairly new and left a lot to explore, so Michonne will likely survive this one from a writer’s point of view, but from Negan’s point of view? That’s one way to show Rick who’s boss.
Rosita will also be somewhat of a cop-out since she is the least rounded character in Rick’s group. Sure, she has been around for a while and has had a few arcs of her own, but she is nowhere near a multidimensional character worth rooting for. Killing her will result in a dud, a moment of shock followed by a sigh of “Oh, well” around the world. If the showrunners want to prevent major fan backlash, they would keep Rosita alive. Also, she fine as hell.
If I could pick anyone who I would like to see get crushed by a bat, it’s Sasha. Many fans have started regarding her as Andrea 2.0, which is a fair comparison. For a long time it was painfully clear that the writers had no idea what to do with the character once Tyreese bit the dust. Her motivation would often change in between sequential episodes, going from someone with a death wish to someone who wants to keep on fighting the good fight and back to death wish again. The character has become one-note and irritating. If Andrea and Lori are any indication, the showrunners know when fans start to hate a character and wastes no time offing them in a satisfactory manner. However, we all know that this needs to be a heartbreaking death if Negan were to ever exceed the Governor in terms of villainy. Negan killing Sasha? That’s a hero in my books. That fact alone saves Sasha from being beaten to a pulp. Her relationship with Abraham is also something worth checking out; maybe the two can become the power couple on the show and have little babies with horseshoe mustaches of their own.
And last, but not least…
Come on? Really? We know it’s not Rick. That’s like killing Walter White in the season three premiere of Breaking Bad. Although it is worth mentioning that there are indications that he might finally lose his right hand in the premiere, which would also be a WTF moment in itself.
And that’s it! All we can do at this point is to speculate further.
Try the Kill-o-Meter below and tell us who you think will meet Lucille in The Walking Dead’s season 7 premiere, airing this Sunday, October 24th.