vulture lists

10 Fictional Characters Who Must Die

Getty Images (Lecter, Bond); Fox (24); NBC (Heroes)

Last month, fans argued about whether Tony Soprano was killed at the end of The Sopranos. This month, fans are eagerly flipping to the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to see whether Harry snuffs it. In honor of those two cliffhangers, Vulture presents its list of ten fictional characters we definitely want to see die.

10. Hannibal Lecter
Why: Ever since Thomas Harris explained away Lecter’s mystique by giving us his backstory in the abominable Hannibal Rising, there’s not much left for the character to do but pay for his sins.
How: When last we heard from Dr. Lecter, he and a drugged-into-submission Clarice Starling were living as lovers in Argentina. When she sobers up, she should cook him alive and eat his liver.

9. The Spider-Man movies’ Mary Jane Watson
Why: Killing off Mary Jane (played by Kirsten Dunst with all the gusto of a narcoleptic carp) would give Peter Parker something more interesting to avenge than the death of his uncle two sequels ago.
How: Tossed off a skyscraper by some evil mutant.

8. Lost’s Locke
Why: Hasn’t Locke’s destiny always been to die on the island? He’s so consumed by its mystical properties that a return to civilization is impossible.
How: Killed by the invisible leader of the Others, Jacob, in an epic wrestling match for the soul of the island.

7. The Wire’s Jimmy McNulty
Why: With domestic bliss finally at hand, Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) has gone from volatile emotional center of The Wire to contented but boring man on the outside. We’d like to see him get back into the mix — but in David Simon’s Baltimore, no one can care as much as McNulty does and walk away unscathed.
How: Marlo’s corner guys recognize McNulty as the cop to whom Bodie was preparing to rat Marlo out.

6. Entourage’s Vincent Chase
Why: Because the entourage is a lot more interesting than its charisma-less leader. Plus, Turtle, Eric, and Drama’s grief over Chase’s death might result in fewer plotlines centered on the pursuit of rim jobs.
How: Killed, tragically, during an attempt to act his way out of a wet paper bag.

5. Philip Roth’s Nathan Zuckerman
Why: In Roth’s most recent Zuckerman books, his aging alter-ego (impotent and incontinent since at least American Pastoral) has been reduced to a rather featureless narrator, midwifing other people’s stories without influencing them. This October, Roth is about to bring him out of this odd exile for the ninth and final installment, Exit Ghost, in which the exiting ghost could, and probably should, be Nathan’s.
How: Of old age, kicking and screaming until the last breath. And then haunting some house in the Berkshires in the tenth novel.

4. Sex and the City’s Mr. Big
Why: The biggest problem with the Sex and the City movie: All four of the girls have achieved some measure of peace and commitment in their lives. That just can’t do. But if Mr. Big keels over, Carrie will be thrust into the cold, cruel dating world yet again … with all her friends living vicariously through her. On the downside, that’s a lot of scenes of Sarah Jessica Parker crying into her iMac.
How: Smothered in cashmere.
Update!: Maybe this really will happen!

3. Heroes’ Claire Bennet
Why: Claire’s popularity with fans, coupled with her ability to spontaneously regenerate body tissue, makes it unlikely that Heroes’s writers would ever off her character … but it would certainly up the anything-can-happen factor.
How: Deadly cheerleading accident.

2. James Bond
Why: Last year’s Casino Royale traded the camp and bloodlessness of Pierce Brosnan’s 007 for a gritty intensity more in line with Ian Fleming’s original novels. And the only way to top a bleeding Bond is with a dead one. Plus, all of Fleming’s books have now been made into films, and Daniel Craig is too good an actor to suffocate as Bond for long.
How: We’ve always wondered how a mortal Bond would fare against Goldfinger’s laser.

1. 24’s Jack Bauer
Why: In the six days that we’ve known him, Jack Bauer’s endured — among other traumas — a heroin addiction, the murder of his wife, and a twenty-month stay in a Chinese torture camp. He could probably use a break. Also, season six was really bad.
How: To save 24’s fictional president from assassination by terrorists from whichever country our real-life president is considering invading that week, Bauer dives on a hand grenade.

Related: Wow, Maybe Mr. Big Really Will Die
What is the point, exactly, of a Sex and the City movie?

10 Fictional Characters Who Must Die