The Walking Dead has a new season in production and will certainly continue to thin its herd as new threats arise beyond the All Out War story.
Though Negan has been eliminated from the threat category, likely being locked away in Alexandria's prison, the survivors from the Kingdom, Alexandria, and Hilltop communities will inevitably face peril at some point in Season Nine. Otherwise, would it be The Walking Dead, at all? Set photos have revealed the first day back to be a thorough ensemble, as the show's heroes ventured through Georgia's city streets which will likely turn out to be Washington D.C., instead.
So, as the characters who have survived eight seasons worth of The Walking Dead's apocalypse, who is in the most danger of perishing? Let's take a look...
Gregory seems like an odds-on favorite to perish in Season Nine should his manipulative nature continue.
The former leader of the Hilltop community has no remaining allies. His community now backs Maggie's choices, the Saviors have been overthrown, and his pal Simon is dead. Where can he go from here, if not completely and genuinely conforming to the new rules around him? It just doesn't seem to be in his nature.
In The Walking Dead comics, Gregory attempts to poison Maggie when he disagrees with her. He is successful but Jesus catches him in the act, just in time to get Maggie the medical attention she needs, and the former leader ends up being hung from a Hilltop tree in issue #141.
While Michonne's character is very much alive in The Walking Dead comics, as is Andrea (the comic book character whose role the live-action Michonne seems to be filling), the AMC show has shown that it is not afraid to stray from the comics in the biggest ways. Just ask Carl.
Michonne is an integral part of The Walking Dead. She is a pillar on which the AMC show stands, as do its characters in trying times. However, the question of "How long will Danai Gurira keep committing more than eight months per year to The Walking Dead?" became more relevant when Black Panther burst out as a worldwide hit with Gurira in a key role. It was only followed up with her appearance in Avengers: Infinity War (which is responsible for the biggest opening of all-time).
Michonne's death is hard to imagine on the AMC show but Gurira's continued efforts when Hollywood is certainly begging her to bring it to the big screen more frequently.
The Walking Dead just wouldn't be The Walking Dead without Rick Grimes. However, in recent interviews, Andrew Lincoln has noted that he believes Rick needs an "endpoint" when such comments were unheard of during earlier seasons.
In an interview with ComicBook.com, however, the actor expressed a genuine excitement for new showrunner Angela Kang's tenure and how it might just be enough to keep him coming back.
"I'm very excited about Angela [Kang]'s tenure," Lincoln said. "She pitched the first eight a couple of weeks ago. I think we're getting the first episode today. There's a renewed vigor, vitality, energy, and just vision that's happening that is reminiscent, and certainly for me, of the pilot episode. There's a lot of things in there that I kind of dig that she's looking into. The things that I loved about the pilot episode, there's a few ideas in there that she's expanding and running with, which is very exciting."
Lincoln, a dedicated family man, pushes himself stateside for eight months per year. He's quickly approaching spending most of each year away from home for 10 years. Like Gurira, the question of how much longer he will continue with the AMC show is suddenly becoming a factor.
One of the most shocking moments in The Walking Dead comics came in issue #144. It was the end of the road for King Ezekiel.
The leader of the Kingdom community, which folded into Alexandria in the comics, finally opened up about his feelings for Michonne (on the series, it would likely be feelings for Carol who seems to be filling out comic book Michonne's role to several extents) and when he decided to share them with her, it was too late. In an off-page scene, Ezekiel was kidnapped by the Whisperers.
Later, Rick Grimes would find Ezekiel reanimated head lodged on a pike, marking the Whisperers' territory.
Ezekiel wasn't the only major character whose head ended up on those pikes. A dozen characters were claimed by the heads-on-a-pike move made by the Whisperers. Among them was Rosita.
In the comics, Rosita had developed a romantic relationship with Eugene, after struggling with the fact that his physique wasn't that of her typical type. At the time of her death she was pregnant but the baby was, years later, revealed to be Siddiq's as the two characters elected to keep the pregnancy a secret.
Of course, there is the chance the AMC series deviates from the comics and replaces Rosita's head on the pike with someone else...
With fans expecting Rosita to be killed by having her head put on the pike, the AMC show might switch things up and have Eugene be killed off in that moments, instead.
Of course, this could mean there is another pregnancy happening on The Walking Dead (which they might want to avoid) but it would be a shocking Mid-Season Finale or Season Nine finale moment. Eugene's story came full circle in Season Eight, when his captivity and joining of the Saviors paid off with betraying Negan in favor of Rick's group.
He might only have so many more heroic moments in the tank before the apocalypse comes for him, as well. However, he's not a death fans should count too heavily on, as his role in the comics is key to introducing the Commonwealth community.
While Alpha might come along in Season Nine, she might also bow out depending on how quickly the Whisperer story moves.
Alpha seems to be a formidable threat for Rick, as she is ready to come for his communities with thousands in her army. It's a group so big that Rick actually refers to it as "an ocean" at one point. However, it's Negan who seems to be joining her group just as he decides to take her head back to Rick's community as a show of good faith. Alpha, in fact, is not around for the Whisperer War, despite being the leader of the group.
While Alpha has yet to be cast on the AMC show, she might come and go faster than some fans are anticipating.