Three fan favorites, Glenn, Michonne, and Daryl.
Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead comics.
Have you pissed your pants yet? It’s been over six months since Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) strolled in wearing a slimming leather jacket while carrying a barbed-wire baseball bat named Lucille to strike terror and desire into our hearts. For about 12 terrifying minutes, Negan had Rick and his crew on their knees awaiting an uncertain fate. Since the season-six finale of The Walking Dead, the one question on our mind has been: Who does Negan kill?
In the comics, Glenn is killed by Negan in almost this exact fashion, and while the show has a history of deviating from the comics, it will almost certainly be a major character death — considering the amount of build-up, it’s clear The Walking Dead is banking on a death with some emotional impact. Even worse, it might not just be one person! In an interview with Den of Geek, Jeffrey Dean Morgan said, “Negan’s not just going to kill one person in [the premiere]. He’s not afraid of bashing in skulls.” (While Morgan has tried to backtrack the comments, he doesn’t quite disavow them.)
So we’ve got Rick, Carl, Glenn, Michonne, Daryl, Rosita, Aaron, Eugene, Sasha, Maggie, and Abraham on the chopping block in front of Negan. There are some pretty well-sourced spoilers out there as to who gets their skulls bashed in, but we’re going to go a little old school. Meaning, instead of parsing on-set photos of season seven, we’re going to do a little bit of textual analysis. So here are some speculative odds — from least to most likely — as to who is going to die in the season-seven premiere. Batter’s up.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln), 100,000,000 to 1
We can essentially rule out Rick (and Carl, but we’ll get to that). There is no Walking Dead without Rick Grimes. This world lives and dies with him. Plus, that’s practically spelled out in the finale. Right before the killing, Negan tells his men, “If anybody moves, cut the boy’s other eye out and feed it to his father.”
Carl (Chandler Riggs), 99,000,000 to 1
As much as we might want it, Rick’s brooding brood Carl is going to stick around. Negan should at least take his hat.
Aaron (Ross Marquand), 1,000 to 1
Rosita (Christian Serratos), 100 to 1
We can pretty much rule out Rosita. Bless her, but she hasn’t had much to do except get an awkward love triangle tossed at her via Abraham and Sasha. Simply put, there hasn’t been enough of an emotional arc with Rosita for us to really feel the weight of her death. Ironically, at this point, the lack of individual plotlines probably means you’re safe.
Maggie (Lauren Cohan): 50 to 1
Lauren Cohan does an excellent job of looking both physically debilitated and terrified. But our sense is that killing an ailing and pregnant Maggie would be distasteful, even for Negan. Plus, he says that the person is “taking it like a champ” which doesn’t sound quite right for someone who can barely kneel on the ground.
Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green): 10 to 1
Over the course of the show, Sasha has worked through some issues: namely her PTSD and losing Bob. Add to that her budding relationship with Abe — nothing is more heartbreaking than crushing the early buds of romance. In the comics, Negan makes a point of saying that he wouldn’t kill a woman in this manner, and we have doubts as to whether The Walking Dead has the guts to do it either.
Michonne (Danai Gurira): 7 to 1
Make no mistake: Michonne is beloved, and her death would rock the entire narrative. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but it still feels like it’s too soon for Michonne, who is still alive in the comics. Plus on the show, she’s nesting with Rick, and has basically created a new family unit with him and Carl. It would be too soon. Too soon!
Abraham (Michael Cudlitz): 5 to 1
Abraham already feels as though he’s living on borrowed time. Generally, characters who have avoided their fate in the comics still get axed some other way (Tyrese, Lori, et al) In the comics, Abe dies with an arrow going through his skull — which is how Denise dies on the show — right before Negan kills Glenn.
Eugene (Josh McDermitt): 3 to 1
In a lot of ways, Eugene’s death makes the most sense. The season-six finale really feels like the end of the road for mullet man. Eugene had a nice character arc, going from lying coward on a fake mission to Washington to someone braver, and even indispensable to the team — which makes it the perfect time to off him. Right before Negan captures them, Eugene gives Rick instructions on how to manufacture bullets in the factory he found. He then volunteers to drive the RV around while the others carry Maggie via stretcher. All of it feels like an awfully good way to memorialize him.
Daryl (Norman Reedus): 3 to 1
Daryl would check off a lot of boxes: He’s crucial to the fictional universe of the show, and the actor, Norman Reedus, is beloved in the real world. His death would undoubtedly shock Rick’s crew and kick them into high gear. Also, the fact that Daryl Dixon doesn’t exist in the comics makes it feel like his life is always potentially in danger. You could also see this as capping off a fairly complete arc for Daryl, who started off the show as a cagey loner only to transform into a cagey team player.
Glenn (Steven Yeun): 2 to 1
The biggest mark against Glenn is that this is exactly how he dies in the comics. For the 100th issue of The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman savagely killed off Glenn Rhee, who had been a major character since issue No. 2, to spur the rest of the plot with Negan into motion. Maybe this would be too on the nose, but the show has also been presaging his death for a while. Glenn had a near-death experience at the hands of the cannibals at Terminus, and then there’s Glenngate, the infamous fake out where Glenn disappeared from the show — and the opening credits — underneath a horde of zombies only to return unscathed from underneath a dumpster.
Either way, Glenn’s death would be a major blow to viewers. Steven Yeun has been a mainstay on The Walking Dead: He’s the only regular cast member to have survived since season one other than Andrew Lincoln and Chandler Riggs. (Cohan herself, who has spent a great deal of onscreen time with him as his TV wife, teared up recently at New York Comic Con talking about this season.) Then there’s the fact that Glenn himself has had a fairly fleshed-out character arc, going from the dry, former pizza delivery boy to a more mature, optimistic husband. When it comes to emotional impact, it doesn’t get more tragic than Glenn.