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The Walking Dead Season 9: Predicting Who Lives And Who Dies

Somehow, despite it only being the beginning of October, the return of The Walking Dead is upon us.

The earlier start date isn’t the only change for the series, which is undergoing its biggest overhaul in years as it attempts to freshen things up and combat its rapidly declining ratings.

There’s a new showrunner, with Angela Kang replacing Scott Gimple (who has been in that position since Season 4), a bunch of new cast members, including Samantha Morton and Dan Fogler, and even a new opening credits sequence. Complete with a time jump of around 18 months and a couple of major cast departures on the horizon, it’s all change for the show except in one core way: lots of people are still going to die, but just who’ll bite the dust – or rather, be bitten by the dust – in Season 9?

21. Alpha

AMC/Image Comics

One of a number of new additions to the show for Season 9, it’s difficult to say someone is going to die before they’ve even arrived.

As the leader of the Whisperers, Alpha is quite literally dead meat walking. She has a decent run in the comics, and the Whisperers are big enough to last until Season 10. As the show’s new primary antagonist, however, she should have a fair bit of life on series, especially as her proper introduction likely won’t happen for a few episodes, even if her arrival is seeded before then.

Prediction: Lives

20. Magna

Image Comics

Another key new comics character making their debut this year, Magna is the leader of *yet another* group of survivors, which is as inevitable as it is improbable.

She’s been a big new player since her introduction relatively late in the game in the comics, grows in importance as things go along and, with so much change happening this year, should be a fairly substantial part of whatever the future holds for The Walking Dead.

Prediction: Lives

19. Siddiq

Gene Page/AMC

Siddiq only made his debut in Season 8, and although he did factor heavily into Carl’s death, the character himself only appeared sporadically throughout the run.

He goes on to have an important role in the comics, and should do similar here. At the very least he’s the new community doctor, and the show has killed off so many of those that, while it’s a poisoned chalice, there’s also no real impact to be had from killing him off. We’re still at the beginning of his time on the show, and that should extend well beyond Season 9.

Prediction: Lives

18. Alden

AMC

Another character who was only introduced last year, Alden may not be the most memorable of the new faces but, with actor Callan McAuliffe bumped up to series regular, there should be more to come.

Alden’s switched sides from the Saviours to the Hilltop, and there’s not much point in doing that AND giving him a bigger role if you’re going to kill him off so soon. That would, admittedly, be very Walking Dead, but giving the new era the benefit of the doubt it seems like he’ll be around for a good while yet as his character properly develops.

Prediction: Lives

17. Gregory

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead has quite a few core characters it can’t do away with, and newcomers likewise, but then there’s the mid-tier. Characters who’ve been around a little while, are recognisable and, while they could live on, also stand a good chance of being killed off as well.

For Gregory, his period as Hilltop’s resident slimeball and flip-flopping between sides means that, despite Xander Berkeley’s pitch-perfect weasley performance, he’s more towards the danger zone than he is the safe zone.

There’s not all that much left to do with him and, if the show recreates Alpha’s ‘heads on spikes’ moment – which is brutal, but also feels like a must – then Gregory should be among the prime contenders, as there’s no one else from Hilltop to quite fill that role. Failing that, then there’s the option of giving him his comics death and having Maggie kill him after he attempts to poison her, which is definitely the kind of thing he’d do. Either way, his days seems numbered.

Prediction: Dies

16. Jadis/Anne

AMC

While Jadis was irritating and has run her course, we’re only just now getting to know Anne, who is the real person behind the dodgy speech pattern.

It feels like the writers are playing the long-game with the character, hence taking so long to reveal her backstory, and there’s still plenty more to dive into – not least her connection to that helicopter.

That alone could run throughout Season 9, and should ensure her survival.

Prediction: Lives

15. Enid

Gene Page/AMC

Enid’s among the character who just sort of… exists. She’s there, you know her, but there’s a question of what she really brings, especially with Carl gone. That’s only going to intensify with Maggie departing too, but Enid probably won’t be going anywhere in Season 9.

The show killed off Carl just a few months ago, and that should probably account for their quota of teen deaths for a good while yet. Enid doesn’t have all that much to offer, but you can pretty much guarantee she’ll be at Hilltop to help take the reigns and realise Maggie’s vision when Lauren Cohan departs.

Prediction: Lives

14. Aaron

Gene Page/AMC

Much like Enid (it’s no coincidence they were paired together last year), Aaron is at something of a loose end. He’s always been there as a steady background presence without ever making the step-up, but again there’s reason to believe they’ll keep him around a while longer.

One is that he’s someone at Alexandria from the very start, so remains as a last link to the Safe-Zone, and there’s also the potential of him starting a relationship with Jesus either in Season 9 or further into the future.

Prediction: Lives

13. Jesus

Gene Page/AMC

Jesus has been pegged to become a major player on the show ever since his impressive introduction in Season 6, and while he’s been more involved as things have gone on, Season 9 is almost a do or die point with the character.

He’s more important and more popular in the comics, and it’s time to start giving him that billing. Luckily, with Rick and more pertinently Maggie on the way out, there is room for him to take the leap. Jesus should become the leader of the Hilltop after Maggie’s departure, and should become one of the more central characters going forward.

Prediction: Lives

12. Rosita Espinosa

Gene Page/AMC

Hell-bent on revenge, it looked like Rosita was doomed long before now, but she’s kept on surviving and emerged a much stronger character as a result.

With the Whisperers on the way, there’s an obvious target pained on Rosita, and the show is at a point where they could kill her off. However, since they’ll probably follow through with another comics death at the same time, that suggests Rosita will actually escape.

There’s still more they can do with the character, whether they use her relationships with Eugene and Siddiq from the graphic novels or not, and giving her death to someone else instead would fit with The Walking Dead’s MO.

Prediction: Lives

11. Eugene Porter

Gene Page/AMC

Eugene has survived longer than perhaps even he expected, in part thanks to his ability to say and do whatever it takes to scrape by. That’s been a blessing and a curse, with the character switching back-and-forth between different sides, but he now appears to be settled back in with Rick’s group after foiling the Saviours in the Season 8 finale.

Is that enough to bring to a close his redemptive arc, or does he need more? Quite possibly the latter, since he has a huge part to play in future comic arcs (although so do others they’ve killed off), and there’s more value in keeping him around.

Prediction: Dies

10. Ezekiel

Gene Page/AMC

He may not be beholden to the same royal theatrics as when we first met him, but that just means Ezekiel is a more rounded character as a result, and while Shiva has sadly departed, he’s going to find renewed happiness as he begins a romance with Carol this year.

And that, of course, will lead to his doom. The series isn’t going to have its characters being happy for too long, and since it looks more likely they’ll keep Carol around, then killing off Ezekiel is a way of giving her extra material to work with, and showing that the Whisperers mean business.

They’ll be looking to take out at least one of the leaders and, if any one of the ‘heads on a pike’ deaths would translate to the show by offering a big enough moment without being someone *too* big, it’s Ezekiel.

Prediction: Dies

9. Jerry

Gene Page/AMC

Look, Jerry’s here for a good time, not a long time. He’s The Walking Dead’s resident banter hound, and the only thing he loves more than cracking wise and crushing skulls is his King.

Can there be a Jerry without Ezekiel? Yes, but he’d be miserable, and an unhappy Jerry is the antithesis of the character. If his King’s going down – which seems likely – then Jerry is damn well going to make sure he’s by his side when it happens, sadly for all of us.

Prediction: Dies

8. Father Gabriel

Gene Page/AMC

Father Gabriel has been on a considerable journey over the past few years, going from a cowardly figure to one of Rick’s most trusted lieutenants, even losing sight in one of his eyes along the way.

He’s definitely been put through the wringer, and while that’s partly just how life is on the show, he’s someone who could benefit from staying around another season or two while some of the bigger players depart. His comics death wouldn’t suit just how far this version of the character has come, and there’s a sense the show won’t want to lose too many of its older characters.

Prediction: Lives

7. Tara Chambler

Gene Page/AMC

Tara has been around since Season 4, which is probably the most shocking thing about her character. She’s offered up some solid comic relief at times, without ever making the jump to the top-tier (not for a want of trying though).

It’s hard to get a gauge on her arc at this point, which means she’s among those who could really go either way. The show is often a little light on humour so there’s a better chance of her sticking around a while, BUT they also love to switch out character deaths, and if not Rosita herself, then no one is better placed to take Rosita’s ‘head on a pike’ death than Tara, who seemingly has less left to do on the series.

Prediction: Dies

6. Michonne

Gene Page/AMC

Not quite there from the start, but Michonne has been woven into the fabric of the show since her stunning, sword-wielding arrival in Season 2.

She’s suffered the loss of Carl and is going to lose Rick in some way too, but there’s a great burden on her now to become the sole leader of Alexandria. It’s extra dramatic responsibility and character work than Danai Gurira deserves, although there is the risk that, with a burgeoning MCU career, she too will decide to leave the show.

That hasn’t happened yet though, and Michonne still feels like a character with so much untapped potential that they can’t lose her anytime soon (unless their hand is forced).

Prediction: Lives

5. Daryl Dixon

AMC

With Rick and Maggie on the outs, Daryl is one of the few characters left to fly the flag for the original survivors, and Norman Reedus is the show’s most bankable star.

Regardless of whether or not reports of a bumper payday to stay on are true, Reedus IS going to be the face of the show post-Rick.

There’s no indication Reedus would want to leave – he’s said quite the opposite – and while Daryl isn’t the kind of character who could carry storylines the way Rick has, he’s nonetheless a fan-favourite, a badass hero, and even though the show has largely wasted him the past few years, is someone they can still do plenty with.

Prediction: Lives

4. Carol Peletier

AMC

It feels like I’ve been predicting a Carol death ever since the start of Season 6 – largely because I have been predicting a Carol death ever since the start of Season 6 – and the woman just keeps on surviving.

Walkers, Saviours, and Tobin’s advances, she’s made it through everything this show has thrown at her and just kept on gritting her teeth and going strong.

Like with Daryl, there’s an added responsibility for Carol as one of the few remaining originals, and given how we’re long past the numerous points of her arc where death would’ve made sense, it seems she’s doomed to be trapped in this cycle of hope and despair for all eternity. Or at least until Melissa McBride realises she can do better.

Prediction: Lives

3. Negan

AMC

The Walking Dead is now at the point with Negan it feels like it always wanted to be (and often thought it already was): they can make him the hero of the show.

Not fully, given the things he’s done, but they can’t very well keep Jeffrey Dean Morgan locked in a cell forevermore, especially with Rick going and Carl gone (the two he interacts with most while there in the comics).

If there’s to be any point to the awful decision to kill Carl, then Negan needs to develop into a good guy, and for that, he needs to live. The show could certainly use Morgan’s natural charm and charisma too, which is another reason to keep him around.

Prediction: Lives

2. Maggie Rhee

AMC

Andrew Lincoln’s departure has grabbed the headlines, but he’s not the only veteran star on the way out. Lauren Cohen’s departure has been less clear, from reports of a pay dispute to talk she will return for Season 10.

It’s a slightly muddled picture, but what we know is that Cohan will only appear in six episodes. In that time, the show needs to build upon her revenge-plan against Negan and potential conflict with Rick, her being one of the main leaders among the communities, and FINALLY becoming a mother.

That’s a lot to get through, so much so it’s hard to see them being able to fit in a satisfying death, and it’s more likely they’ll leave things open-ended for them to work out just how Cohan will return.

Prediction: Lives

1. Rick Grimes

Gene Page/AMC

This is the big one. After 8 years and 115 episodes, we have just a few hours left with Rick Grimes before it’s time to say goodbye for good. No matter what state the show has fallen into, or how frustrating fans have become, there’s a genuine sense of emotion in Andrew Lincoln departing.

They could have another open-ended conclusion here, but the chances of the actor ever returning seem slim. Rick’s lost his wife, he’s lost his son, but he’s found a semblance of peace, and deserves to rest in it. With the Whisperers on their way, there’s a good chance to kill him off, even using elements of Andrea’s fate from the comics.

He’s too important to simply leave his fate ambiguous; Rick, Lincoln, and fans deserve a definite end. Here’s hoping it’s a fitting one too.

Prediction: Dies

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