If you're a fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead, you know that characters are bound to die regularly. With one of the most brutal worlds on television, it’s fully justified. Not only is there the ever-present danger of walkers biting one of our favorite characters, but as the series progressed the threat from other (living) humans has grown season after season. Plus, with an incredibly large cast, the showrunners need to trim the fat to make room to introduce new characters.
I get the feeling we are bound to have at least one more character death in the final three episodes of Season 7A. Partly, this is because we haven’t had a death since the premiere’s double header (pun intended). But I also get the feeling that the showrunners have built up a few characters for a fall. And there’s one actor who may have an off-screen reason for an exit. So, in no particular order, here are my top five contenders for what character will die next on The Walking Dead:
Let’s get Heath out of the way first. Why am I including a character we last saw in Season 6 Episode 12 on the list? Well, my reasoning doesn’t have much to do with what’s happening on screen. Corey Hawkins, the actor who portrays Heath, is starring in the new/revamped series 24: Legacy. He’s essentially the new Jack Bauer (think Jeremy Renner in the similarly titled The Bourne Legacy). Since this series should come with a built-in fan base, Corey Hawkins is likely to play this role for more than one season. And yes, actors can juggle multiple shows, but since Heath has been a relatively small character on The Walking Dead, I think the easiest option is to kill him off and not have to work around his 24 schedule.
How will Heath die?
The secret scene from last week’s Talking Dead showed Tara and Heath, so it looks like this Sunday’s episode will be when we finally check back in with these characters. I don’t remember any characters that are left in Alexandria that have strong connections to Heath, so I think the show will take him out before he and Tara get a chance to return. Prediction: Tara and Heath are swarmed by walkers and he suffers a bite.
Last week I wrote about my general disdain for Spencer, so I may be including him here just through wishful thinking. But, we did get an episode that had a Spencer-centric B-Plot. This visibility spike could be foreshadowing the death of the last Monroe. Plus, the tension between him and Rick feels like it could boil over at any second. There’s no way The Walking Dead leaves Spencer alive for too long. But, I think the question is whether Spencer will bite the dust before the midseason finale or after it.
How will Spencer die?
You’ve got to let Rick take this one. Since we have Carl stowing away to The Sanctuary to presumably murder Negan (which obviously won’t happen) there will be an upcoming confrontation between Rick and Negan about getting Carl back. This whole situation is destined to bring Rick to the breaking point and I get the feeling that something Spencer says offhandedly might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Rick’s already threatened him and the audience would love to see him follow through on that promise. Or you know, Spencer could just pull a Spencer and suffer a bite while being a dumbass. Prediction: Spencer will die in Season 7, but not until the show returns for its second half.
This week’s episode was a stellar performance from Steven Ogg. Some fans are even calling for Negan to be removed so that Simon can step up into his role. As a huge Negan fan, I won’t take it that far, but I am loving the character. I do think that someone on Negan’s side needs to go, though, and Simon is the leading contender. I’m thinking of this more from a storytelling perspective. Every scene that Simon is in, Negan could take his place. And I think Simon’s death could spark Negan into taking his ruthless control to the next level, which could be just what the various communities need to align together and mount a resistance. You could also sub in Dwight or Sherry here as visible Saviors, but I don’t think either of those would have the same impact on Negan as losing his right-hand man.
How will Simon die?
I could see it happening two ways. The first would be some sort of mishap with the whole Carl and Jesus in the van situation. If things go awry and fists and/or bullets start flying, Simon could be a likely target since he is leading that group. Jesus has proved to be a capable fighter, so I could see him taking out the Saviors’ second in command. I could also see one of the three female characters that want to fight the Saviors (Michonne, Sasha, and Rosita) going after the group and taking out Simon when Negan is either absent or out of reach (or if it’s Michonne, she would probably just miss and hit Simon accidentally). Prediction: There’s not enough room for two charismatic villains on the show. Simon falls before the hiatus.
Like the aforementioned Spencer, fans would love to see the alcoholic and misogynistic Hilltop Colony leader taken out in the most gruesome fashion. Plus, getting him out of the way would make room for Maggie to step up and lead the settlement. That scene with Maggie, Sasha, and Jesus discussing the future leadership of the Hilltop was a little too on-the-nose for nothing to develop further. But how soon can we expect that development?
How will Gregory die?
The possibilities are endless! Could Simon return after finding Jesus within the cargo and punish Gregory? Possibly, though I think Jesus is sneakier than that. Could Maggie, Sasha, or Jesus decide to take matters into their own hands and kill Gregory? Possibly, but I think they are more of the peaceful political takeover types. Who knows, maybe he’ll just get too drunk on whatever Scotch he has left and wander outside the walls. I definitely don’t think he could handle himself out there for too long. Prediction: Gregory’s death is coming, but I don’t think we have enough time left this half-season to finish him off. Death in Season 7B!
And that brings us to our final candidate and the biggest character I put on the list: Rosita. Before Episode 4, Rosita wasn’t even on my radar for potential deaths. She generally stays in the background (at least for a main character) and the show took out someone from her original group in the premiere: our dear dolphin-smooth Abraham. But then she had an episode that both developed her character and reintroduced a somewhat forgotten plot point from last season: Eugene’s bullet factory. We haven’t checked back in with that plot, but I could totally see Eugene having a reluctant reaction to making bullets for Rosita’s gun.
How will Rosita die?
The Alexandrians (plus the Hilltop and Kingdom) need to start mounting a resistance against Negan. To do that, they need guns and bullets (and they need to hide them from the Saviors). So Eugene needs to start making bullets. If Eugene is initially reluctant to making one for Rosita, her death could be what sparks his change of heart. Rosita is a rash character and I could see her going after the Saviors even without firepower. If she does and she meets her demise, Eugene could even blame himself as bullets could have protected her. Prediction: If the plot starts moving quicker in Season 7A, Rosita goes out before its end. If not, she’s not lasting too long into Season 7B.
Honorable Mention: Someone From The Kingdom
I have to throw in that someone from the Kingdom could also exit the show before this season ends, but I hope they don’t. Richard, a top knight of Ezekiel is the top candidate. Alternatively, I think losing his new apprentice Benjamin would be another way to further Morgan’s story. Even Morgan himself could exit relatively soon, as I’m always doubtful how long Lennie James wants to be a part of this project. I don’t think we’ve spent enough time in the Kingdom yet to see one of those three exit, but they are all near the top of my list for Season 7B.
And there you have it, my top contenders for deaths on The Walking Dead before the midseason hiatus. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter if you think I left anyone off the list! I’ll be back to covering The Walking Dead on Scripted TV Hangover after the midseason finale (to inevitably debunk all my predictions). In the meantime, I’m going to spend a couple weeks covering my favorite new show (by far) of the fall season: Westworld. I hope you check back in next time on Scripted TV Hangover!