The Walking Dead returns for its eighth season on October 22nd and promises to be “All Out War,” as Rick and the rest of Team Family finally take the fight back to Negan and his Saviors, who made life a living hell for them throughout the entirety of last season. Of course, with war comes death and The Walking Dead hype machine has emphasized that heads will roll this season (so basically, it will be like every other season in this regard).
Andrew Lincoln has promised that “big deaths” are coming, while his co-star Lennie James has warned that at least one “beloved character” will be killed off this season. The real test will be if any major characters are counted among those losses, as it’s already given that a variety of minor players will be getting the ax. Could we see a character of actual importance like Daryl or Michonne become walker chow in Season 8? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime, here are the characters we think are most likely to die in The Walking Dead Season 8.
Alright, I’ll readily admit that I don’t actually expect Rick Grimes to be killed off in Season 8, as he’s about as close to being a “safe” character as there is. Still, shouldn’t we take this assumption we all have before the start of every season that Rick is going to be fine as a sign that Robert Kirkman could easily pull the rug out from under us and kill of his story’s main character at any time?
Kirkman has already admitted that The Walking Dead could go on without Rick and even though Rick is still going strong in the comics, his story threads could easily be grafted onto other characters when it comes to the TV series. Again, there’s pretty much a 99.9% that Rick is going to survive Season 8, but I think we at least need to entertain the idea that now that The Walking Dead is in its eighth season, there’s at least a chance that it might try and truly shock its viewership by doing something no one would think is possible.
Father Gabriel started out as one of the most hated characters on The Walking Dead, but transitioned into one of the show’s best over the course of Season 7. Gabriel started truly stepping up, turning from meek hanger-on to a gun-toting preacher, which is an arc I can definitely get behind. Unfortunately, things aren’t looking good for Gabriel as we head into Season 8 and it all has to do with the San Diego Comic Con trailer that AMC put out over the summer.
We see Gabriel have a run-in with Negan, with the pair eventually ending up alone in a room together, surrounded by Walkers. Of course, this could all just be misdirection but it’s important to remember that Negan’s hatred for Rick and the rest of Team Family is at an all-time high given the fallout from last season and he’s already killed off a bunch of Alexandrians, including Glenn, Abraham, and Spencer (and those are just the ones he killed with his own hands). It’s not much of a stretch to imagine Gabriel being added to that list.
The fact that Gregory made it through all of Season 7 without someone knocking him off may be the most surprising thing to happen on The Walking Dead in some time. It should have been obvious from the get-go to people like Maggie and Sasha that Gregory would Hilltop out to Negan and the only thing that probably spared his life is the fact that Team Family isn’t into indiscriminately killing peop … oh wait, they kind of are. Yup, this decision makes no sense.
That being said, now that everyone knows about Gregory’s betrayal and the fact that we know Negan doesn’t take kindly to snitches (hello Spencer), we wouldn’t expect Gregory to make it more than a few episodes into Season 8.
I’m really not sure how we’re supposed to feel about Eugene at this point. He’s definitely one of The Walking Dead’s most unique characters, a source of comic relief, practical knowledge, and a healthy dose of cowardice. Unfortunately, Eugene isn’t the innocent puppy he used to be and has committed a potentially fatal act of betrayal against Rick and the rest of the Alexandria group by defecting to Negan’s side.
It’s unclear just how far Eugene’s allegiance to Negan goes but in fairness, the Saviors have kind of treated him better than he ever was a member of Rick’s group. Yes, Eugene did give Sasha a suicide pill, suggesting that he may still be worthy of redemption, but as things stand going into Season 8, Rick’s group sees Eugene as little more than a traitor and that’s a status that could earn him a bullet.
Who? You’d be forgiven for not remembering that Carol’s love interest/only Alexandrian left worth caring about is named Tobin. He’s been a familiar face over the past few seasons, popping up here and there as a stand-in of sorts for the many nameless inhabitants of Alexandria. Still, Tobin is essentially a glorified background character and only seems to have lines when he’s interacting with Carol … which might be the key to sending him off in style. Tobin’s death would represent a major personal blow to Carol and could be the catalyst for a whole new arc for her.
Simon was one of the breakout characters of Season 7 and in some ways was a more effective villain than Negan. As Negan’s equally sociopathic right hand man, Simon was just as easy to hate as the leader of the Saviors, as he showed up repeatedly to make the lives of those living in Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom a living hell.
Part of the reason for Simon’s effectiveness is the standout performance being given by Steven Ogg, who you may recognize as Trevor from Grand Theft Auto V. As one of Negan’s only named henchmen, Simon’s odds of death are going to increase significantly with the coming of All Out War and considering how many casualties Rick’s side has suffered so far, it’s only a matter of time before Saviors start dropping and Simon is at the top of the list.
It’s hard to think of a character who’s been more mismanaged than Corey Hawkins’ Heath. Believe it or not, Heath is actually a pretty important character in the comics, but you wouldn’t get that impression from the way the show has handled the character, sending him off on a supply run in Season 6 that he still hasn’t returned from. We saw that Heath and Tara were separated, leaving the former character’s fate up in the air, but everyone knows that the reason AMC did this was because of Hawkins’ schedule, as he had to miss time after landing the lead role in 24: Legacy.
The show easily could have just killed him off and left him at that, but they’re essentially keeping him on ice at this point until a time when Hawkins can return. Showrunner Scott Gimple has already said that there’s “not a huge chance,” of Heath returning in Season 8 but that “we definitely have not seen the last of [him], period.” So does this mean Heath is sticking around for the long haul or will they bring him back for an episode and just kill him off? I’m leaning toward the latter, but who knows what’s going to happen with this bizarre loose end at this point.
5. Rosita (or Tara or Aaron)
Rosita earns herself a spot on this list by virtue of the fact that she’s important enough for her absence to be noticed, but not a big enough character like Rick or Carl that killing her off would change the entire trajectory of the series. The other thing to consider is that it really is shocking that Rosita has managed to live this long, given that she spent most of last season in open contempt of Negan and the Saviors and made some pretty foolish, reckless decisions that easily could have gotten her killed.
Now that everyone on Team Family is on the same page as her and are actively trying to take Negan down, it’s possible that Rosita will become more disciplined, since she actually has something to fight for now beyond just revenge. Still, her status as a secondary character automatically puts a target on her back and she could realistically bow out of the series at any point. You could also safely slot in Tara or Aaron’s name into this category.
Jadis and her crew of Junkyard Friends were created for The Walking Dead TV series, meaning that they are much more expendable than some of the other characters on this list. The thing with Jadis specifically is it seems like there is little reason to keep her around after Season 8 or whenever the All Out War arc ends. Betraying Rick in the Season 7 finale established Jadis as both a wild card and enemy of Rick’s group and this point, she has almost as big a target on her back as Negan does.
Really, it’s a toss-up over which side kills her first, as Negan may decide that Jadis has outlived her usefulness now that Rick knows she can’t be trusted, or Rick may very well take her out early on so as to be able to focus on Negan and the Saviors without a Junkyard distraction. Either way, it’s hard to imagine Jadis and her awful haircut making it to Season 9.
Season 7 definitely underutilized King Ezekiel, the enigmatic leader of The Kingdom who just so happens to have a pet tiger named Shiva. Ezekiel is such an interesting character that it would really be a huge mistake if The Walking Dead doesn’t give him more to do in Season 8, but with All Out War heating up, I think there’s a very good chance of Ezekiel becoming a true fan favorite this season with lots of screen time.
Unfortunately, that added screen time would only help make Ezekiel’s death even more tragic, especially if he goes down alongside Shiva (no one wants to see an awesome tiger get killed, which means that it is absolutely going to happen). This would also certainly fulfill the promise of a “beloved character” meeting their end this season. Out of all the potential deaths on this list, this is the one I most hope I’m wrong about, but I just don’t have a good feeling about Zeke’s chances right now.
It’s hard to pin down right now what The Walking Dead’s plans are for Morgan. Having already died in the comics, there is no expected death situation coming up for Morgan, so he very well could keep on living for a long time. Still, it’s unclear at this point just how much there is for Morgan to do, development wise, as his arc kind of petered out after he broke his no kill philosophy.
Lennie James is also a talented, in-demand character actor, so it’s hard to see him wanting to stick around if showrunner Scott Gimple can’t give him some more interesting material to work with. We’ll have to wait and see how Morgan’s story shapes up in the early episodes of Season 8 to get a better read on whether or not the show is close to killing him off.
We thought about putting Daryl here instead, but does anyone honestly believe at this point that AMC would actually let The Walking Dead kill of Norman Reedus’ character? No, Reedus will be with the show until he either dies in real life or gets tired of not being able to ride a motorcycle in every episode. Instead, it’s much more likely that Daryl’s fellow D-man Dwight will be the one to go. Dwight and Daryl are quite a bit alike, even if they’re ostensibly on opposite sides of a war right now.
However, it won’t be long before Dwight fully switches allegiances and join’s Rick’s camp and by that point, there will be little reason to keep both Daryl and Dwight around. As a character with no comic counterpart, Daryl is free to adopt pretty much any storyline and considering Dwight’s role in the comics continues on long after Negan is defeated, Daryl could easily take his place.