By now, even most casual fans of The Walking Dead are aware of the imminent arrival of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan, the brutish villain from the comic series who is being positioned as the show’s main antagonist for the foreseeable future. While it’s still very much up in the air as to when Negan will actually make his first appearance, you can be sure that he’ll show up by the season six finale at the latest … and when he does, it’s going to rock the series to its core. It’s almost guaranteed that Negan will kill at least one of the series’ main characters by the end of the season. How do we know this? Well, that’s pretty much what Negan does in the comics and there’s also the small matter of Rick’s group blowing up an entire group of Negan’s Saviors — there’s no way he’s going to let that slide. Right now, it’s really a guessing game as to which character Negan will ultimately murder, but we can assure you that it will be one of the following characters on this list. And if it’s not … well then the show really went in a strange direction with all of this.
*Note: this post contains spoilers from the The Walking Dead comics (and potentially) the end of season 6.
8. Father Gabriel
On the lower end of the spectrum of possibilities is Father Gabriel. We’ve already gone into detail about why Gabriel is a lousy character, so I won’t belabor the point here. The thing is, as much as we’d be totally fine with seeing Negan caving Gabriel’s skull in, that’s also the main reason why we don’t think it will happen, at least not right away. Negan’s introduction will be brutal, terrifying, and designed to make viewers feel incredibly uneasy, so nothing is really gained by killing off a character most of us would actually be happy to see go. Still, there’s always the possibility that Father Gabriel will be on Negan’s kill radar; just don’t hold out much hope for it.
This one’s quite a longshot, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. If I were to put money on it, I’d say that Negan will kill a fan-favorite character and Michonne definitely fits that description. We’d all like to think that Michonne is still untouchable at this point in the show’s run, but recent developments may hint that her time is running out. The most recent episode, “The Next World,” established that Michonne is now in a relationship with Rick (yay!) but it’s important to remember that every woman that Rick has been romantically linked to has perished. Will Michonne join the likes of Lori and Jessie and be the latest of Rick’s romantic partners to suffer an untimely demise? Probably not, but if Negan takes her out, we’ll at least be able to confirm that Rick is indeed cursed in love, which comes with its own sense of satisfaction. This revelation shouldn’t come at the price of Michonne’s life, to be sure, but The Walking Dead has also taught me to derive enjoyment from any little thing I can at this point.
Eugene currently qualifies as the show’s definitive “weird” character, though that title could very well be claimed by the newly-introduced Jesus if the latter continues to be as strange as he was in his debut. Eugene hasn’t really had much to do since he was revealed to be a fraud early on in season five, so it’s rather shocking that he’s survived this long. More recent episodes have made strides in having him be a more useful character, as he’s started to get over his intense cowardice and is trying to contribute to the group. As much as Eugene can be kind of frustrating, there’s a bit of a buffoonish innocence to his antics, and if Negan were to savagely beat and murder him in front of his friends and companions, it would be a pretty depressing event. I’m not sure that having Negan kill Eugene would necessarily elicit the intense reaction from the viewer base that the show is surely aiming for, but there’s always a chance of it happening, even if it comes in addition to an even more shocking death.
Don’t worry, I know this is a terrible suggestion and I kind of feel awful for even bring it up … but what if they go there? Maggie is one of the show’s most beloved characters and she’s also pregnent, two traits that you would think would give her immunity against being killed off. Then again, this is The Walking Dead, a show that delights in making us all feel miserable. This is the same show that featured a mother and her two sons being ripped apart in rapid succession only a few episodes ago, so yes, they’ll definitely brutally murder a pregnent woman if they have to. Besides, with Judith currently occupying the totally helpless role in the group, there’s only room for one infant on this show, meaning Maggie’s baby will have to be dealt with at some point. It might as well involve mother and unborn child being ruthlessly cut down by a new villain in a dramatic season finale (but hopefully not!).
The more time we get to spend with Abraham, the more we grow to really love the gruff, but loyal ginger killing machine. When you think about it, Abraham would actually be a good candidate for the end of Negan’s bat: he’s a likable character who many people would be sad to see go, but also not quite as important to the ensemble as a Rick or Daryl. This means that AMC could avoid the intense ire they would receive if they decided to kill off someone who’s been around from the start (and there aren’t many of those left). To be honest, it looked like Abraham was going to be killed off in the mid-season premiere — thankfully he wasn’t — so it’s not much of a stretch to imagine him getting taken out by Negan by the end of the season.
Morgan’s return at the end of season five was definitely welcome and his standalone episode earlier this season was one of the series’ best, even if it contributed little to the overarching plot. Unfortunately, tt’s difficult to gauge where exactly Morgan fits in right now among The Walking Dead‘s large ensemble. His pacifism stance, while potentially an intriguing plot idea, has failed to register beyond being an annoying contrivance that creates artificial drama (was anyone really surprised when his plan to keep that Wolf alive blew up in his face?). Still, I feel like the second half of this season will give Morgan more to do and if this is the case, he will surely be at the top of Negan’s kill list. Despite recent missteps, Morgan is still a popular character and he would definitely be missed if he were to meet an untimely end. i could very much see a situation where Morgan’s pacifism brings him into direct conflict with Negan and Morgan would unfortunately find himself on the losing end.
Glenn finds himself near the top of the list of Negan’s potential victims based merely on the events in the comics. As you’re probably already aware, Negan kills Glenn in the comics by brutally beating him with Lucille, his baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire after choosing him at random from among Rick’s group. Of course, there are a few things that make this turn of events a little less likely from taking place on the TV series. First off, we already got a giant tease that Glenn was killed off earlier in the season, so it’s unlikely that the show would go to all that trouble of bringing him back only to kill him off half a season later.
There’s also the fact that the show likes to deviate pretty substantially from the comics and since killing off Glenn is the obvious thing to do, it seems unlikely that showrunner Scott Gimple and his team would want to do something we’re already expecting them to do. Then again, Negan could very well kill Glenn because we’re expecting it, but we’re also expecting the writers to make a different choice because they know we know Glenn’s the obvious choice. Does that make any sense? We’re trapped in a game of double think with The Walking Dead right now and it will be fascinating to see which direction the show takes.
If The Walking Dead wants to make a statement with Negan’s introduction, they need to have him kill Daryl Dixon. I know that’s not what you want to hear but it’s the truth. As the fan-favorite character, Daryl has survived far longer than anyone probably ever expected him to and although the show stumbles occasionally with trying to incorporate his lone wolf persona into what’s happening at any given time, I’d be damned if I didn’t admit that Daryl is still the coolest. “If Daryl dies, we riot” has become a rallying cry for huge portions of the show’s fan community, having become enormously attached to Norman Reedus’s redneck with a heart of gold.
All that being said, it’s time for AMC to poke the bear and do the unthinkable by killing Daryl off. I don’t like it anymore than you do, but Daryl’s days are probably numbered and we should probably start preparing our goodbyes. Then again, The Walking Dead is AMC’s flagship program and if there’s a chance that a huge subset of viewers will just stop tuning in if Daryl goes is probably a risk they won’t want to take. It’s all going to come down to whether or not AMC thinks The Walking Dead is bigger than one character, even if it’s Daryl f–king Dixon; I’d wager that they do. Goodnight Daryl, sweet prince.