UPDATE 10/21 6 P.M. ET:
Check out six huge spoilers for The Walking Dead's season 7 premiere, including a scary hint about Daryl's fate!
Original story below:
The day of reckoning is nearly here for fans of The Walking Dead. After months of waiting, the AMC series' season 7 premiere on Sunday, October 23, will finally reveal which of our beloved survivors didn't make it through the diabolical debut of the biggest baddie in zombie America.
For those in need of a refresher, last season's finale saw 11 of Alexandria's finest on their knees, awaiting their fates, as Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) made a grand entrance with his barbed wire–wrapped baseball bat in hand. After an opening monologue designed to make everyone present pee their pants in terror, the malicious, manipulative leader of the Saviors took a big swing at somebody's head — and we still don't know who the target was. The camera stayed on Negan for a fourth wall–breaking, blood-spattered final shot, and then everything went dark.
The show's producers have promised that the identity of Negan's victim will be revealed right away when the series returns. And with a critical mass of the cast having been present for that scene, any one of nearly a dozen characters could be dunzo by the time the title credits roll. But if you're looking for a best bet on who took the deadly hit, some of these folks are more likely than others:
After breaking Rosita's heart and suffering a bit of an existential crisis last season, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) was coming into the final curve of a satisfying character arc when we last saw him — a character arc for which a heroic death would be a fitting (albeit very upsetting) end. That makes him a shoo-in for this list, but if he's your favorite, don't lose hope. While Abraham might have completed one arc, he's also right at the beginning of another in the form of his budding romance with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), who has already lost one boyfriend and a brother to the zombie apocalypse. Offing Abe before he's had a chance to cozy up to Sasha would just be unfair.
We love Michonne (Danai Gurira), but we've also gotta be real about how very, very badly the deck is stacked against her survival. For one thing, The Walking Dead has developed a bad habit over the years of killing off its black characters (case in point: Noah, Tyreese, Bob …), which potentially puts her at risk. But for another, and more important, she's currently dating Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), which historically speaking makes her a straight-up death magnet. Here's hoping the producers recognize what a fan favorite she is, and spare her life.
For years, Daryl (Norman Reedus) was essential to the survival of the Grimes gang, what with his epic walker-slaying skills, his loyalty and his DGAF attitude vis-à-vis showering. And for years, that's kept him safe from being offed by the show's writers. But the more adept everyone else becomes at surviving the zombie apocalypse — and let's be honest, everyone is pretty damn good at it by now — the less the showrunners need to keep Daryl alive for the sake of believability. That leaves him in a dangerous position, made worse by the fact that he's not even part of TWD canon to begin with. Daryl doesn't appear in the Walking Dead comics; the writers made him up just for the show, which means they can also unmake him basically anytime they want. The only reason Daryl might not be a goner as of October 23 is how popular he is with fans — who might actually burn down Hollywood if he doesn't survive the season premiere.
Back during the lead-up to the season 6 finale, Glenn (Steven Yeun) was far and away the favorite to die by baseball bat, simply because it's canon. In the comics, Negan beats Glenn to death, and it's exactly as horrible as you'd imagine. And come Sunday, there's still a decent chance that the showrunners will stick to the existing script and do away with our beloved pizza delivery boy. The only thing working in Glenn's favor is the same thing that probably provoked The Walking Dead to end on a cliffhanger last season: Everyone expects him to die. And you know how those showrunners love to subvert expectations, which brings us to …
If the writers are looking to devastate and horrify us while still keeping to the spirit of the Walking Dead comics, then Maggie (Lauren Cohan) will be the one on the business end of Negan's bat. Killing off a pregnant character in such a horrific way would be shocking even by Walking Dead standards — which might also be the one reason why the show won't go there after all. But between the fact that Maggie was already at death's door the last time we saw her, and the fact that Cohan got the kind of drastic haircut last year that often signals a major career change, we can't rule her out.
Tell Us: Who will be a corpse by the end of the episode?
The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.
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