‘The Walking Dead’ Hit List: Who Dies Next?

Will Rick or Carl Grimes die by the end of the new 'Walking Dead' season? That's a possibility, according to a new rumor.

Warning: Spoilers from the “Walking Dead” midseason finale and the “Walking Dead” comic books are ahead. Turn back now if you’re not all caught up. Go on, get!

Are you done grieving Hershel? The Governor’s gone, too, and perhaps even baby Judith as well — best to move on quick, because based on a new “Walking Dead” rumor, it sounds like another main character is about to join the body pile.

A post on ComicBook.com states that another main cast member will die in the second half of “The Walking Dead” season four — a character “who has not been killed in the comic book series.” That bit of information narrows down the list of possible victims considerably.

It’s just an unverified rumor for now, but hey, it’s a holiday, and it’s slow out there. Let’s have some fun with the rumor: judging by the clues, who is next to die on “The Walking Dead”?

(And seriously, this is your final spoiler warning if you’re not up to speed on the most recent “Walking Dead” comics. No turning back now!)

On the show, there are only four characters who appear in and are still alive in the comics: Rick, Carl, Michonne and Maggie. All the rest are either dead and gone in the comics, or haven’t been introduced quite yet on the show and don’t exactly qualify as “a main cast member.” (There’s one outlier candidate; we’ll get there in a minute.) With that logic, it can really only be one of those four.

I don’t see Michonne leaving. She’s the sword-wielding, zombie-cleaving, Wild West ninja-warrior of the zombie apocalypse. There’s value in keeping Michonne around for a good while yet. And I don’t believe it’s Maggie; I think she and Glenn still have a little further to go, and actress Lauren Cohan is the closest thing the show has to a female lead right now, following last year’s deaths of Lori and Andrea, not to mention this past season’s exile of Carol.

How about Carl? Let’s assume baby Judith is dead. If that’s the case, Rick has lost his wife and infant daughter. If he loses Carl in the second half of season four, Rick will completely lose it, for the third time. That’s not a satisfying outcome. But maybe Chandler Riggs wants off the show for whatever reason, or the writers really want to bring Rick all the way to rock-bottom. Killing Carl finishes that job.

But let’s imagine the unimaginable — let’s imagine that Rick Grimes dies by the end of season four. He’s the day-one lead of the show, but should he remain in that seat forever? Rick’s been through quite the wringer already; how much further does he have to go? What’s more, killing Rick by the end of season four would be a dark reflection of the Governor’s death right at the midseason finale. Both leaders enter the season, neither of them leave. There’s some poetry there.

It would be stunning and bold if Rick died on “Walking Dead,” and someone else, like Daryl, took over as lead — which brings us to the outlier: Daryl Dixon.

Daryl hasn’t died yet in the comics, because he doesn’t exist in the comics. Norman Reedus’ character was created specifically for the show. Judging by the wording of the clue, it’s completely possible that Daryl could meet his end — another move that would rock fans to the core, perhaps even more so than killing Rick.

There’s no telling if the latest “Walking Dead” death rumor is true, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? It’s “The Walking Dead.” Sooner or later, everybody dies.

Likes pizza, punch and pie. Dislikes the Chitauri.
@roundhoward