Could Negan Kill Rick On 'The Walking Dead'? His Would Be The Most Shocking Death Of All

Three weeks ago, viewers had to grapple with the hard truth that The Walking Dead killed Glenn, fulfilling the beloved character's comic book fate and devastating us all in the process. (Oh, and Abraham gave up the ghost as well.) Last week, viewers once again had to grapple with the question of whether Daryl would die, as the fan-favorite character was subjected to abuse and torture at the hands of Negan. (Thankfully, Daryl remains alive… for now.) But what if viewers soon have to grapple with a death even more shocking than any that have come before? What if our group of survivors is about to lose their stalwart leader? Could Negan kill Rick on The Walking Dead ?

I know, I know; it seems insane to even contemplate the possibility. Although TWD often feels like an ensemble show, and there is a wide bench of talent behind Andrew Lincoln's tortured performance, there's no denying that Rick Grimes has been the lead character since the very first scene of the very first episode. The idea of the show continuing without him is almost unthinkable — which may be exactly why it ends up happening.

For a show that (like Game Of Thrones) practically advertises itself on the fact that any character can die at any time, it has actually been a while since the last truly surprising death. For the past several years now, there has been a seemingly untouchable core group of characters who, no matter the situation, always seem to be wearing a cloak of invincibility: Rick, Carl, Carol, Daryl, and Michonne. Glenn used to be a part of his group, and the writers' willingness to stick to the source material and kill him off is definitely to their credit… although his death can't really be counted as "surprising," considering millions of comic book readers knew it was coming.

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If the writers want to fulfill the promise made by Glenn's death — a return to the glory days when it truly felt like nobody was safe — then they need to kill off another member of that core group, and soon. And I would argue that Rick is actually the best choice. For one, it would carry maximum impact since he seems the most invulnerable. It would also open up the biggest number of new narrative avenues, since it would throw a grenade into the predictable cycle the show has found itself in over the last several seasons. (You know, the one in which Rick leads his group to a new safe haven which turns out to be not so safe after all, rinse and repeat.)

Still not convinced? Don't take my word for it; just ask Robert Kirkman, the creator of both the AMC drama and the comic series it's based on. That's exactly what one person did during Kirkman's Reddit AMA this past May. When the fan asked whether Rick would ever die, Kirkman responded that the character will kick the bucket "eventually."

"Well, of course," you might be thinking. "Rick might die eventually; like in the series finale, whenever that might be." But Andrew Lincoln himself seems to think his character's demise will happen sooner than that. Asked at San Diego Comic-Con this past July whether The Walking Dead can survive without Rick, the actor responded, "Absolutely, I think that was always the intention."

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If both the character's creator and his portrayer agree that the "intention" is to kill Rick "eventually" and that the show will have no trouble going on without him, given its deep bench of beloved supporting characters, then surely it's only a question of when rather than if. And if it's true that Rick really is going to be killed off sometime in the show's future, what better character to get the honor than its most notorious villain, Negan? Better him than a nameless, faceless walker, right? We may have a ways to go until we lose Rick, but you better start making peace with the idea now.

Images: Gene Page/AMC; Giphy