If you’ve ever watched AMC’s mega-hit The Walking Dead, then you know that no one is safe. That’s kind of their jam, that anyone can die at any time. Robert Kirkman’s comics are the same way, but even though the series follows the same rough pattern as the source material, that doesn’t mean characters that are still alive in on the pages can’t die off on screen. They’re not afraid to kill of kids, the elderly, people you love, people you hate; you name it, they’ll kill it. Kirkman even recently hinted that one fan favorite could be next on the chopping block.
There are SPOILERS beyond this point if you’re not 100% caught up on The Walking Dead.
Season 5 of the zombie drama is in the middle of it’s annual midseason hiatus, but as is their pattern, they went out with a bang, a literal bang in this case, as Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) caught a bullet in the head at the end of “Coda.” Though it wasn’t a huge surprise—we thought it was either her or Carol (Melissa McBride)—it was still traumatizing to many (one fan even started a petition to bring her back), especially Daryl (Norman Reedus), who had formed a powerful bond with the younger Greene sister.
Even though they fly the “No one is safe” flag high, there are still some folks that you don’t expect to get offed, at least not anytime soon. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), for example, would be hard to kill, as he’s the protagonist of the whole thing. Daryl is another, and though he doesn’t appear in the comics, he’s become a favorite on the show. Kirkman, however, reiterated the show’s mantra on CNN, saying:
No, no one is safe, definitely not. Looking at you Norman Reedus.
This definitely comes across more as a joke, though one designed to remind you of the constant state of danger these characters in, than as an actual hint about the future of the show. Though you do have to keep Reedus from getting too big for his britches, right? It’s also a nod to the semi-serious “If Daryl dies, we riot” threat floating around amongst fans. You don’t want anyone to get too comfortable thinking that there’s no way their favorite character can get bitten by a walker strolling down the street, or that they won’t run across some hungry cannibals or despotic tyrants in the course of their adventures.
When The Walking Dead returns from its break on February 8, you can bet that there will be a great many more lives in peril. After Beth’s death, they’re in a dark, dark place and have some heavy baggage to carry, no clear goal (way to go Eugene), and are once again on the road. Could this be the moment that breaks them, or at least some of them, irrevocably? Though I doubt it’s likely, it’s always possible that Daryl could be next in line to be killed off, but I don’t think that Kirkman meant to tell us that Daryl is in any more danger than anyone else right now. Characters dying is just away of life on The Walking Dead, one that fans have to accept and deal with.