“I’ve been asked that question before, and I’ve had different answers for it. One is in his sleep at the age of 94, another would be end it like in the comics, because that would be horrific,” Gilliam said at FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention when asked to reveal an ideal death for Gabriel.
“But I think however Father Gabriel goes is how he goes. I mean, I think he’s redeemed himself at this point, so it wouldn’t necessarily have to be a heroic death. He’s already covered the ‘an act of heroism’ ground. I would just hope that it would have some meaning. A meaningful death.”
Gabriel met a grisly end in the comic books: there he served as lookout when Beta of the Whisperers marched a horde of walkers towards Alexandria, frightening the panicked Gabriel, who fell backwards and was left helplessly dangling from a ladder with a snapped ankle.
Beta then gutted Gabriel and left him to be mauled by walkers, who gnawed Gabriel’s body down to the bone.
Gilliam told ComicBook.com in 2017 Gabriel’s comic book fate would be “the coolest way Father Gabriel could go.”
“I was like, ‘Oh, that’s bad. That’s bad! It’s not over yet? He’s what? He breaks his ankle then he gets his stomach cut or he gets his throat slit then he gets fed to the bone!’ I think it’s actually a more dramatic death than Glenn, though Glenn trying to gurgle out ‘Maggie’ with the bat is hardcore,” Gilliam said, adding the gruesome fate is “more than a worthy death” for Gabriel.
“That’s like three deaths in one. I don’t know how I would play it,” Gilliam said. “I would definitely lose my voice before the throat was cut but I think that would be the coolest way Father Gabriel could go. He’s eaten to the bone! Literally, he's hanging there.”
Gilliam’s Gabriel has since become romantically involved with Rosita (Christian Serratos), who is carrying the child of Siddiq (Avi Nash). The Whisperers and second-in-command Beta (Ryan Hurst) were introduced in Season 9 and will serve as lead villains in Season 10, due out on AMC in October.