written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
How bout that season 6 finale cliffhanger? Jeffrey Dean Morgan makes his debut on The Walking Dead giving fans of the AMC show their first official look at big-baddie Negan. There will be some slight spoilers so read with caution… but of course if you clicked this link I’m sure you’ve seen the finale.
Over the last six seasons, The Walking Dead has done a combination of sticking close to the source material while crafting a story all its own. While on the show, characters like Sophia and Andrea are among the dearly departed, those same characters are still alive and well in the comic. Even some of the deaths have been different, some characters from the show who did die ended up bringing to screen deaths of other characters from the comic.
So let’s start a bit of theorizing… who did Negan kill?
The Comic Connection: Glenn Rhee
In one of the most gruesome deaths from the entire comic series, Glenn’s exit served to shock and surprise those who have been loyal readers from issue 1. Like Glenn from the TV series who made his debut in the second episode (aside from a voice during the pilot) the comic version came into the series in the second issue.
In the 100th issue, Glenn experiences the business end of Lucille in the comic book counterpart of the season 6 finale. This was a death that rocked fans of the comic to the core, especially the fans of the TV series, which was heading into its third season at the time.
Glenn’s death is possible but honestly I feel like it is the least likely. In a climate like it is today with Asian-Americans so grossly underrepresented in modern media, it would be a shame to see the only Asian-American member of such a widely popular show get axed… or Lucille’d… off the show. I feel like the show runners know this and realize that losing Glenn would be a damn shame for the show.
The Popular One: Daryl Dixon
With Daryl being one of the original stars of the TV series, he’s a wildcard in this whole discussion. Since his life and origin come as the story progresses, and as far as I know I don’t believe that any character who has appeared in the comic series so far could be even a loose stand in for Daryl.
When Glenn was killed in the comic, he was a fan favorite among those who have been reading the comic from day one. His death was made even more shocking when in a very Game of Thrones way, you realize that nobody is “safe” on The Walking Dead. Norman Reedus has portrayed Daryl since season one, like Steven Yeun’s Glenn. We’ve watched Daryl go from being a forgettable redneck to becoming a pillar among the group.
It would certainly shock fans to see such a fan favorite bite the bat, but given how they killed off Glenn in the comics… Daryl could be a strong choice for who dies.
The One Who Hasn’t Died Yet: Eugene
Eugene’s story has come full circle and The Walking Dead has already killed characters off the show who are alive and well in the comics (example: Andrea and Sophia). Eugene has had his story come full circle, evolving from a cowardly liar to someone who has become a strong member of Team Rick.
Negan’s exclamation of his victim “taking it like a champ” could be read as unexpectedly thinking Eugene would have hit the ground on the first hit. He doesn’t really strike me as the type who can take a barb-wired bat to the head.
Eugene’s death would be a good end to a character who has already made himself useful to the team, though I think that his death won’t retain the same shock value that Glenn’s or Daryl’s would have, it’s still a possibility.
The Likeliest One (IMO): Abraham
Abraham has been a force to be reckoned with throughout his time on the show with his character’s arc following fairly close to the comic, his death is coming. Abraham’s story has come full circle as well. He’s come to peace with the man he was before, fallen in love with Sasha and come clean with Rosita.
During the finale, Negan didn’t look too happy at Abraham’s defiance and a part of me feels like that is enough of a reason to target him. Abraham is my likeliest candidate for one simple reason; his death was already used.
While The Walking Dead can greatly differ from the TV series to the comic, some of the iconic deaths have been kept. Hershel being beheaded by the Governor on the TV series was Tyreese’s death in the comics, much like how Bob getting bit and then eaten by the hunters of Terminus mirrored Dale’s death from the comics. The point I’m getting at is that while the people may change, many of the circumstances stay the same.
In the funny pages, Abraham finally meets his maker when Dwight shoots him through the back of the head with his signature crossbow. For fans of the show, you’ll recognize Dwight as the Savior that Daryl spared. Abraham’s death scene was used in the show though, during a surprising twist when Dwight accidentally shoots Denise through the head with Daryl’s crossbow.
With Abraham’s death already being used, it’s clear to me that the likeliest target for Negan’s rage will be Abraham. While I’ve grown to like Abraham as a character on the show, if I had a choice between his death or Glenn, I’d take Abraham any day of the week.
We won’t truly know until the season premiere this coming October. They could completely throw us a curve ball and kill anyone else, it could be Maggie or Sasha… Rick even. The one thing I do know about AMC’s The Walking Dead is that nobody is truly safe, and just like the setting on the show… death looms around every corner.