7 Fan Theories About Who Will Die On ‘Modern Family’ This Season Suggest No One Is Safe

Ron Tom/ABC

If you're looking for a joyful, funny sitcom to settle in with on a rainy day, there are few better than Modern Family. The long-running ABC comedy has been a staple on the network for almost a decade, and now that the final season of Modern Family is upon us, showrunners have decided to shake things up a bit. One of the Pritchett-Dunphy clan — or perhaps a secondary character who's close with them — isn't going to make it to the end of the series, according to some interviews with the cast and crew. Wild, right? They didn't say who, but fans already have theories on who will die on Modern Family.

Co-creator Christopher Lloyd shook fans to their cores when he told Entertainment Weekly that a death will occur in Season 10. Not just any death, either: "a significant character on the series," and it "will be a moving event, and an event that has repercussions across several episodes." It seems a little dark for a show that's usually such a ray of light in primetime, but it makes sense — being a part of a family oftentimes means losing someone close to you, and the Modern Family group isn't immune to that.

Lloyd also cryptically said in the same interview that "there is a significant change in the dynamics of the family that people maybe thought was going to happen at some point down the line that is happening sooner than expected," though he didn't reveal if that has anything to do with the death. It's certainly a lot to think about, and fans definitely don't want to lose anyone. But if this is the boat we're sailing in, we might as well try and track its course with these theories on who could be meeting their demise:

Jay

Jay, the Modern Family patriarch, can be considered suspect number one. He's the oldest character, he's made plenty of jokes about dying and getting older, and his death would completely rattle the foundation of everyone's lives. We could have another Zeke from Parenthood situation on our hands. That would certainly explain the multi-episode arc Lloyd teased — Jay's death wouldn't be a neat and tidy plotline that could be wrapped up in 20-odd minutes.

DeDe

Dede (Shelley Long) is Jay's ex-wife, and the mother of Mitch and Claire. This death would be less of a stunner, as she doesn't make frequent appearances in the series. But it would certainly cause heartbreak for the entire family, and warrant a few episodes of reflection, mourning and recuperation. Fans seem to be on board with this train of thought. "I am going to guess DeDe. It wouldn't be something that shakes the main casts' foundation and it would affect almost every character," wrote Reddit user MVKronus. "Jay deals with someone who was close and his age passing away... Mitch and Claire lose their mom which also adds to them worrying about losing Jay... Plenty of stories to come through that."

Frank

Phil's dad, Frank Dunphy, is another character whose death would result in plenty of drama, but wouldn't necessarily be as huge of a deal as one of the main players dying. One point that might work against this theory, though, is that Phil's mother is already dead, and they might not want to pile the sadness onto him that much. It's also not clear how this would warrant a multi-episode arc.

Pam

Cam's sister, Pam, is another popular theory among fans. She isn't part of the main cast, but her death would have lasting effects, particularly on Cam and Mitch. Some point out that Cam and Mitchell would probably end up adopting Pam's son if anything were to happen to her, as her relationship with the baby's father has never been the most stable.

Dylan

Haley's spacey on-again-off-again is another theory that's picking up steam. He isn't a part of the regular recurring cast, but he has shown up a ton of times throughout the series, even after he and Haley's initial relationship when down the tubes. The family has grown to know and love him in a strange way, and an outrageous death would be very in character. "I wouldn't be surprised if it's Dylan," wrote Reddit user herpderpgood. "That would make most realistic sense. He got a job hunting rare mushrooms, [wandered] into lumberjack territory, got smushed by a tree. That's so Dylan," they wrote.

Stella The Dog

If Stella the dog dies, fans are probably going to revolt. A pet dying is a traumatic experience for any family to go through, and it would allow the main cast to remain intact, but it's a bit of a stretch to think this would be an arc spanning many weeks.

Phil

This one is a doozy, but stranger things have happened. Some fans are suggesting Phil Dunphy himself could be the one to kick the bucket. It would definitely send shockwaves throughout the family, similarly to how Jay's death would, and would be a darker place for the show to go in its final episodes. Jay's death would be heartbreaking no matter what, but for an affable, goofy persona like Phil to meet an untimely end could be even more devastating.

It's not completely unheard of for a light-hearted comedy to remind its audience of the humanity at its core, and having its characters grapple with a stunning death is a compelling way to do that. There's no way to know for sure who will say their final goodbyes early — it could even be someone not listed here. But one thing's for sure — viewers should prepare themselves for whatever's coming down the pike.