For the few of you who follow my The Walking Dead coverage on Uproxx, none of this will come as a surprise to you. However, since I have been obsessively tracking this for months now, I thought a quick overview of my findings over there would make a worthwhile post over here.
A quick refresher: At the end of season six of The Walking Dead, Negan lines 11 people up, puts them on their knees, and bashes someone’s head in with his baseball bat, Lucille (which has a creepy/heartbreaking origin story). However, we only see Lucille from the perspective of who was being killed, so we don’t actually know the victim’s identity.
I am 87 percent certain now that I know who Negan kills (and I have seen several other outlets piggyback upon my theory in recent weeks). I arrived at the identity of the victim through a series of deductions.
Let’s begin by laying out the line-up: Rick, Daryl, Carl, Glenn, Eugene, Michonne, Aaron, Sasha, Rosita, Abraham, and Maggie.
We can easily rule out two people: Rick and Carl, because Negan said that he’d feed Carl’s other eye to Rick in the final sequence last season. Neither of those choices make any sense, anyway.
Next, we can rule out Daryl, Eugene, and possibly Glenn, because those three and Rick sent a birthday message to Demi Lovato on Snapchat from the set of The Walking Dead two weeks ago, meaning all four of them are still on set (the Lucille sequence was filmed in June).
There’s one caveat to that, which I’ll get to in a moment.
We can also fairly rule out Sasha, Rosita, and Aaron, because they are relatively minor characters, and though The Walking Dead has made some missteps along the way, no one on that show is misguided enough to deliver a seventh season premiere as anticlimactic as one would be if either of those three were Negan’s victims.
That leaves Michonne, Maggie, and Abraham. It’s not Michonne. The three untouchables on this show are Rick, Daryl, and Michonne, and I’ll just tell you right now that Michonne has been spotted on set several times in recent months. It’s not her.
That leaves Abraham and Maggie. The odds-on favorite for a long time was Abraham, because that makes sense, and because his character was meant to die last season anyway, but the series exchanged his comic-book death for that of Denise.
Two things, however, have ruled out Abraham. First of all, in an interview with PopSugar, he basically came right out and said that he’s still on the show:
“[Denise’s] death spurs on a whole bunch of other stuff, and then the audience knows that Abraham will continue for a while now. Now we get to see what a world with Negan and Abraham both in it will be like.
In case people are thinking that Abraham’s interview was a red herring meant to throw viewers off his scent, it also appears that Abraham can be seen in the latest Negan-centric teaser for season seven.
With Abe ruled out, that basically leaves only one strong possibility: Maggie.
Narratively, it makes sense. Maggie is pregnant, and the show can’t logistically or narratively sustain another infant on the show, and while Maggie is beloved, she is expendable.
Moreover, Lauren Cohan’s Instagram page suggests that she’s been far away from the set for a couple of months now, which might mean less in isolation, but given the other evidence, it tends to show that she is probably the victim.
But wait, there is a twist.
In a recent interview, executive producer and the director of the seventh season premiere, Greg Nicotero, dropped this line:
“If we would have shown the deaths, then they wouldn’t have felt our characters in season 7 the way they need to.”
That seems to confirm a long-held belief by many that the season seven premiere would feature two major deaths. Who might the other one be? My money is on Glenn, for three reasons: 1) His was the character who died in the comics; 2) it would be hard for Glenn to stand by and watch Negan kill his pregnant wife without jumping to her defense; and 3) Steven Yeun spent much of June in South Korea shooting Joon-ho Bong’s film Okja (he also has two other films coming soon).
But what about that Demi Lovato birthday message he appeared in? Watch it again. He’s in it for only the briefest second and he’s isolated from everyone else. That seems like the sort of thing producers might slip in to throw viewers off the scent.
I’m only 55 percent certain about Glenn, but I am still 87 percent confident that Negan kills Maggie. After all, those who have seen the opening scene have said that it was incredibly “disturbing,” and nothing would be as disturbing as Negan bashing in the head of a beloved character who is also pregnant while her distraught husband looks on. It’s going to be brutal to watch.