Out with the old, and in with the new. It may time to purge the cast list of The Walking Dead, leading show creators to nickname the upcoming midseason premiere the Valentine’s day Massacre.
But what did Walking Dead fans expect? This is the apocalypse, after all. The question is, who is on Episode 9’s hit list? Will just nameless Alexandrians perish, or will some of the show’s veterans — like Daryl Dixon — meet their maker, as well?
That would be a pretty terrible birthday present for Norman Reedus, who turned 47 on Wednesday. Some people have speculated that the death of everyone’s favorite crossbow-wielding redneck could serve as a stand-in one of the comic books grislier kills. But first — a spoiler alert.
— MTV (@MTV) January 6, 2016
Do not read on if you’re spoiler-squeamish.
There is a very rational logic behind the theory that The Walking Dead‘s midseason premiere on February 14 will be an unmitigated bloodbath intended to clear the screen for new characters, put forth by Vanity Fair.
First of all, show-runner Scott Gimple has pretty much said Episode 9 is one of the series’ biggest, and comic book creator Robert Kirkman agreed by confirming that tons of characters die. The hard fact is, such a bloody purge is necessary.
The first half of Season 6 was full of strange faces that no one has bothered to remember. There’s precedent in the series as well: Rick Grimes’ group joining a camp, ruining it, then moving on.
So, if you’re struggling to put Alexandrian names to faces, don’t worry about it. Those faces will soon be six feet under, and on that clean slate, fans will be introduced to a new stock of characters. And if the show follows the comic books (which it doesn’t always do), we may already know exactly who will kick the bucket.
Again, spoiler alert.
The midseason finale saw Rick, Carl, Jessie, and her unbalanced kids, Sam and Ron, holding hands and covered in zombie guts in an attempt to escape a Walker-infested Alexandria. And just before the cut-to-black, Sam started to call to his mother, almost guaranteeing the zombies would get wise and figure out the group wasn’t one of the dead after all.
And the premiere trailer makes sure to remind us that Jessie is holding both Sam and Carl’s hands. In the comics, Ron (Sam in the show) freaks out, and Jessie won’t let go of either kid. This forces Rick to hack off her hand (killing her, pretty much) to save Carl. And it’s possible, too, that Ron ends up shooting Carl in the eye at some point in the mêlée.
The new characters who’ll emerge in the second half of the season will caused plenty of damage, as well. There will be two new groups to contend with: the Saviors, a group led by Negan, who’ll be played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and the Hilltop Colony.
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) January 5, 2016
As explained by Uproxx, major Hilltop Colony character Dwight (seen in the first half of the season) will return. The group’s leader, Gregory, will be brought to life by Xander Berkeley of 24 and Nikita fame, E! News just reported.
And Negan’s expected appearance at the end of Season 6 has already met with lots of speculation about how which Walking Dead veteran favorites he’ll kill. His group, the Saviors, will introduce even more new faces.
So, for the sake of simplicity, plenty of old faces just have to go.
— ScreenCrush (@screencrushnews) January 5, 2016
In the comics, Gregory is a worthy adversary for Rick and Maggie, specifically. Through his conflict with Rick’s group, Glenn is killed and Maggie is poisoned. But Negan will be the real villain, according to writer Scott Gimple, NME added.
“He’s charismatic and funny. And even sort of friendly. But he just kills, and it doesn’t bother him. He’s the star of his own movie and we’re all Red Shirts. He’s not nuts. But you can’t reason with him because he’s got it all worked out. He knows exactly the way the world works. And he’s the one in control.”
Some have speculated that Glenn’s grisly death at Negan’s hand (with the help of a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire) will befall Daryl instead. So, Happy Birthday, Norman Reedus — enjoy it while you can.
[Photo via YouTube]