Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead!
A beloved character on The Walking Dead is about to die. This is not speculation, or an insider tip – fans who follow AMC’s hit show have long known that Negan — one of the most brutal villains in the graphic novel series — would be making an appearance in the Season 6 finale, and that he would be responsible for the death of a major character. And as expected, Negan did kill one of the members of Rick’s group, but thanks to some first-person perspective camerawork, we’ll have to wait until the premiere of Season 7 before we know who it is. [Update, 11/2/16: As revealed in the Season 7 premiere, Abraham and Glenn (Maggie’s husband) were killed by Negan.]
We’ve already made our case for why Daryl or Carol might be the next to die, but they aren’t the only major characters who might end up dead in Season 7. Here’s why we think there’s also a chance Maggie could be the next to die. [Updates, 4/5/16: Added new information after the Season 6 finale.]
1. Maggie is taking too many risks
Oh Maggie, what are you doing? Despite being pregnant and having already gone through the trauma of almost losing her husband, Maggie seems to be seeking out more danger, rather than avoiding it. In episode 11, “Knots Untie,” Maggie puts herself in the center of the action by handling negotiations with Gregory and “The Hilltop” community. In episode 12, “Not Tomorrow Yet,” Maggie joins the raid against the Saviors despite Carol’s concerns about her safety and ends up being captured by members of Negan’s Saviors. Finally, in episode 13, “The Same Boat,” Maggie and Carol narrowly escape their captors after a particularly nasty breakout.
Although we have enjoyed watching Maggie’s evolution from naïve farm girl to badass action heroine, we can’t help but feel that her increasingly fearless persona and her desire to always contribute to the community’s defense is setting her up for a major crash. In other words, her bravery and selflessness could make her an ideal target for Negan’s wrath.
[Update, 7/22/16: Added new image of Maggie being threatened by Negan (see below).]
— The Walking Dead AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) July 20, 2016
2. Killing Maggie would be a fitting twist on the source material
As most fans of The Walking Dead already know by now, in the comics it is Glenn who is viciously beaten to death by Negan with a barbed wire-covered baseball bat that he calls “Lucille.” Of course, fans also know that the TV series doesn’t always strictly follow the same storyline. And frankly, it would be a little disappointing if the show followed the comic when it comes time to meet Negan. After all, both the fans and TWD characters have already experienced a “Glenn is dead” crisis earlier this season when his fate was left indefinite for several episodes. Obviously, he didn’t really die, but killing Glenn at this point would almost feel redundant. Not to mention the fact that Steve Yeun (Glenn) has already hinted that he won’t be Negan’s victim on the show. “I know people are going to always go, ‘Negan kills Glenn in the comics,’ but rest assured that we don’t necessarily do what’s in the comics,” Yeun told Entertainment Weekly.
On the other hand, killing Maggie in lieu of Glenn would have a similar impact on both the fans and the show’s characters, without seeming predictable. Not only is Maggie a fan-favorite character, she is a wife and an expectant mother. Substituting her death for Glenn’s would be the perfect twist on the comic book’s original storyline, while still providing the same, if not greater, emotional impact. And while we still don’t know who Negan started to beat to death at the end of the Season 6 finale, it’s worth noting that he told the seriously ill Maggie that “I should just put you out of your misery right now.”
3. Sorry, Maggie — The Walking Dead already has baby
How many babies can a post-apocalyptic zombie world handle? Honestly, we feel one baby is too many (remember Judith’s harrowing escape under the walker guts poncho in “No Way Out”?), but this point has more to do with storytelling conventions than infant safety. All of the characters on the show have evolved and changed as the story has progressed, but they all fulfill certain archetypal roles. Rick is the leader/father figure, Daryl is the loner-turned-reluctant hero, Gabriel is the man of God who struggles with his faith, and Judith is the baby: a symbol of pure innocence and hope for the future. And while it would be nice if Judith grew up with a playmate, we don’t think another baby within the core group of survivors will work story-wise. But before you label us baby-haters, let us explain.
When Rick’s group first came to Alexandria, we knew that Deanna would soon step aside, or be eliminated, because they both fulfilled similar roles. Having two morally upright leaders in a community just doesn’t work for the story. Think about it: If another confused priest or a motorcycle-riding, crossbow-toting badass showed up, we’d probably expect something to bad to happen to them. Why? Because we already have Gabriel and Daryl. This is why we have our doubts about a rosy future for Maggie’s baby (and by extension, Maggie). And if you don’t think The Walking Dead would stoop so low as to kill a pregnant woman, then maybe you should revisit a few of the show’s previous shocking deaths.
4. Hints from the other cast members
There have been hints from several different cast members that suggest the upcoming death of a major character will be particularly horrifying. Since this is a show that regularly features people being eaten alive (not to mention all the other horrible ways of dying), we can only assume that there is something about the victim that elicited this reaction, rather than the method of death.
Here’s what Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) had to say about the season finale in an interview with Entertainment Weekly: “I felt sick to my stomach when I read the script. It was the first day in the whole six years of working on The Walking Dead that I was late for work because I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t get back to sleep.” Remember when Rick bit through a guy’s jugular vein before gutting him like a fish? Apparently Lincoln didn’t lose any sleep over that. So whatever happens in the Season 6 finale is going to be pretty bad.
The finale had a similarly devastating effect on Melissa McBride (Carol). “It was so very dark,” the actress told ComicBook.com. “I couldn’t say anything after I had finished reading it. I felt like I had dropped into a blackhole.”
While Lincoln and McBride’s comments confirm that the finale will be especially brutal, Lauren Cohan’s (Maggie) reaction almost sounds like a farewell. “[Hearing] the word ‘finale’ gives me a physical reaction because it’s the hardest day on set that I’ve ever had in my life,” Cohan told EW. “I never even imagined that as an actor you could have that experience. It’s one of the most raw experiences that I think any of us have ever had. Andy talks about being late to work; I didn’t want to go to work that day. It took a really, really long time for everybody to feel okay again after the finale, let’s put it that way.”
5. Lauren Cohan’s infamous haircut
When it comes to The Walking Dead, sometimes all it takes is a haircut to send fans into a frenzy of worry about their favorite character. Last December, actress Lauren Cohan debuted a new, shorter haircut that had fans of TWD wondering if the character she played on the show had been killed. According to WetPaint, the shooting schedule for each season of the show usually wraps up in late November. This means that Cohan most likely got her haircut after Season 6 was completed.
So does this mean Maggie is definitely dead? Well, not necessarily. Although Maggie currently has a longer hairstyle on the show, it’s worth noting that the comic book version of her character actually has a short haircut. That being said, with all the other evidence of Maggie’s impending death, the new haircut isn’t helping reassure fans that she will make it to Season 7.
Fans of Maggie won’t find out her fate until the Season 7 premiere this fall, when The Walking Dead returns on AMC each Sunday at 9 p.m Eastern.
Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS