Without a doubt, Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes provides both the access point, and the dark heart that sustains ‘The Walking Dead,’ not to mention the face of the series overall. The same goes for the original Robert Kirkman comic on which AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ derives its base, Rick still firmly in the lead, albeit a bit short-handed. Unless AMC suddenly decided to shift focus to its othermost recognizable lead Daryl (and as you’ll see later, no), we can expect Rick to continue his post-apocalyptic torment for quite some time to come. Go ahead, give us a hand for yourself, Rick.
Though perhaps less iconic to casual ‘Walking Dead’ fans than the TV-exclusive Daryl, Michonne has been running circles around the crossbow-carrying redneck in print for years, wherein Michonne has become, one of, if not the defining image of the comic. Her arrival in season 2 finale “Beside the Dying Fire” was similarly heralded, and regardless of AMC’s execution of the character thus far, we wouldn’t put money on her demise for several seasons, or at least until she’s had a meatier plotline. We’d be much more worried about her comic book fate than Danai Gurira’s AMC counterpart, the surface of whom has barely been scratched. Judging by the latest clip however, things aren’t looking so good for her equestrian friend, “Flame.”
Admittedly we wrestled with placing Carl higher or lower on this, considering what the character represents to the series at large. The comic version has endured quite literal and metaphorical beatings over the years, despite his relatively young age, and we wouldn’t be surprised if Kirkman’s ‘Walking Dead’ one day killed one day killed off Rick, and shifted the focus to his younger son.
For as much as we’d like to think of Carl as safe in the book however, Chandler Riggs’ increasing age could conceivably put a target on AMC Carl’s back, at least a few years down the line. Given how much of either series focuses on the relationship between the pair, it would seem unwise to kill off either, at least for a season or two, though we wouldn’t rule it out entirely.
Dear, sweet Maggie. Glenn and his farmgirl better half share a dangerous role as embodiments of “the lovers” in fiction, the fates of whom rarely lead to hugs and puppies. It certainly doesn’t help that both last season and next seem to float the idea of the two leaving the prison behind and striking out on their own, taunting us with an “ever after” never to be.
Not to mention, the deaths of Andrea, Dale and Sophia over the last two seasons have clued us into an “inverse longevity” relationship between AMC and the comics, wherein longer-lasting comic characters could potentially be killed for the surprise factor. Gun to our heads however, we’d imagine tragedy more likely to befall Glenn, considering Lauren Cohan’s feminine value to the show.
Tyreese’s comic fate gives us pause in considering the character’s trajectory over the coming season, especially given the dire circumstances glimpsed for the hammer-wielding hero in the Comic-Con trailer. We know Tyreese to take a much more significant role alongside Rick and the other survivors this year, but we’d imagine his late introduction last season would stave off the reaper for at least a year, if not the final episodes of season 4.
If indeed the latter half of season 4 builds its climax around the Governor’s revenge, Tyreese may well end up a head for the chopping block, but it feels a bit too soon for us to lose an actor as valuable as Chad Coleman. One need look no further than the recent trailer to see the character will have a larger arc this year to prove his mettle.
Like Maggie, Glenn’s youth provides both a gift and a curse in that the character offers both lucrative youth appeal and tantalizing shock value. Narrative-wise, we’d imagine tragedy for Glenn and Maggie to strike sooner rather than later, especially given the landmark twist that memorialized issue #100 of the comic books last year. It wouldn’t seem as if the AMC Glenn had a great deal more to offer storywise either, considering his failed attempt to lead in Rick’s stead last year, so we’d put a modest wager on Glenn this year. Lauren Cohan given some meaty grief to play, whilst still looking hot? Sold!
Let’s get real. Genre TV hates babies. Either they’re pushed to the side for someone else to take care of, or artificially aged up to become less of a production inconvenience. Seriously, when was the last time you saw ‘Breaking Bad’’s baby Holly, or ‘Dexter’’s Harrison used in anything but perfunctory ways?
So while we question AMC’s willingness to kill off an infant (especially as gruesomely as in the books) we’re not giving poor baby Judith more than a season or so. The pathos inflicted on Rick for the loss of his baby would seem to far outweigh any storytelling potential offered by the child, at least that Carl doesn’t already provide.
This one seems like something of a no-brainer, considering the angst we saw Tyreese to undergo in the Comic-Con trailer, and a larger value the eldest sibling maintains to the plot overall. Sonequa Martin-Green has been bumped up to series regular this year, mind us, but our limited investment in Sasha (as well as a role filled by a character similarly related to Tyreese in the books) makes the character a prime target in the coming year. Not to mention, our distrust of new series regular Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) leads us to believe his apparent interest in Sasha can only end poorly.
Oh, Carol. Every season we wonder if the crazy axe will fall, whether by the death of her daughter, or Daryl’s apparently unreturned affections, and each year you surprise us with your survival. We doubt she’ll be so lucky this year, as multiple ideas could suggest that Carol’s time has come. For one, Carol has never been strong enough a fighter to drastically increase her survival odds, even as she serves other roles inherent to ‘The Walking Dead’s way of life. This year we’ll no doubt see Carol in her new role as teacher to young Woodbury students, as well as another source of care for Judith, but how long can we ignore the obvious, or Carol’s comic end, for that matter?
Without sharing any spoilers, Carol’s comic fate ranked among the more unique outcomes of any ‘Walking Dead’ survivor, one AMC will undoubtedly incorporate in at least some character. Carol-Daryl shippers too will reach a frenzied pitch this year, so no matter what, Carol will prove a character to watch this season.
We don’t know Bob Stookey. We don’t like Bob Stookey, even if we like Lawrence Gilliard Jr. His presence in the trailer doesn’t sell us on very much beside a bit of opportunism, and the character’s comic history strongly suggests a connection to the Governor that will come to be exploited at some point in the season. Unless Bob proves himself to be a breakout character worthy of keeping around, we wouldn’t expect Bob to last the season by a longshot. Tyreese doesn’t like the way he’s eyeballing Sasha, either.
Martinez and Shumpert
The moment an unnamed character (later identified as Shumpert) wielded a bow and arrow, we knew a showdown with Daryl to be imminent. Later on in the season, it had seemed that Daryl was positioned as a more direct rival to the Governor’s new right-hand man Martinez, something we would expect returned to at some point in season 4. Martinez too shares a comic-counterpart brutally killed for acting as a double agent, so while that doesn’t look to be a possibility for season 4, Shumpert and Martinez won’t cavalierly cruise with the Governor for very much longer, we expect.
An old man, initially unwilling to adapt to the new world order, and eventually losing a leg for his trouble. Odds? Not so great, in any circumstance. That said, it looks as if ‘The Walking Dead’ season 4 has returned a bit of Hershel’s mobility in the form of a prosthetic leg, though not in a manner that would prove significantly useful in fleeing a horde of walkers in uneven terrain. For as much as we want Rick to have an older voice of wisdom, especially after Dale’s death, we’ll gnaw our own legs off if Hershel manages to survive the season.
It isn’t entirely speculation either, considering production conditions in blistering Atlanta wouldn’t appeal to actor Scott Wilson forever, and Wilson’s 2012 DUI arrest likely already altered the actor’s standing with producers. And who would you think more likely killed off, Hershel, or his daughters?
Among the survivors of ‘The Walking Dead,’ has there ever been a lamb led to slaughter so often as Beth Greene? Our non-investment in the character and her early suicide attempt not-withstanding, we have to believe that poor sweet Beth’s ultimate end will arrive this season, possibly to provide a bit of pathos for dear old dad before his own potential end. It certainly doesn’t help that Carl has eyes for her either, considering Carl tends to end up shooting everyone he loves. Whatever new threat or calamity arrives this fall, Beth makes too easy a target to ignore this time around.
‘Walking Dead’ writers already tested our patience in giving the Governor a reprieve in the season 3 finale, do we really think they’d do it again? We have every faith in the AMC series to take the character played by David Morrissey in some surprising new directions this year, and new heights of villainy not yet explored in season 3, but what possible chance could there be for the character to have any use after that? Lest we forget, Morrissey has already booked his next gig on AMC's 'Line of Sight' as well, even if both shoot in Atlanta.
Bottom line? Crazy is crazy, Michonne is Michonne, and she will have her vengeance for Andrea this year, in one form or another. La-Bibbida-Bibba-Dum, Philip.
You guys. We know. And we love Daryl too. But for as much as we love Norman Reedus’ portrayal of the iconic zombie-slayer, ‘The Walking Dead’ can craft no stronger punch at this point than to take away our sweet, sweet Daryl, ideally in a heroic blaze of glory. Daryl’s relationship with Merle has effectively been lain to rest, leaving the potential for Daryl to develop a love interest in the coming season, but not much else. Michonne would seem to be a good fit, especially considering Daryl has largely filled Tyreese’s comic book role up to now, and Carol could always use a bit more trauma.
And yet, no death from AMC’s rendition of ‘The Walking Dead’ has yet come close to the pure gleeful horror of the books, and we can imagine no more plausibly powerful card left to play than dear Daryl’s death. Factor in Tyreese’s rise as Rick’s right hand man, Michonne’s similar standing, and the imminent arrival of even more alpha reinforcements for Rick. Daryl fans, prepare to riot. The end is nigh.