**Spoilers for both the comic series and television series***
The Walking Dead television series has taken everyone by storm since its debut in October 2010, and one reason for its success (even garnering more viewers then Breaking Bad) is due to everyone’s favorite crossbow shooting redneck Daryl Dixon, played by Boondock Saints‘ Norman Reedus.
In the 3rd season of The Walking Dead, a leaked image of Reedus hanging by his neck with guys hanging out prompted people into believing he would become the Governor’s latest victim. People were so outraged by the thought of their favorite character dying, the saying “If Daryl dies, We Riot!” began to flood the internet and social media. However, when it was revealed that the pic was actually from an older movie Reedus starred in, audiences relaxed…until Season 4 when Daryl was willing to sacrifice himself to save Rick, Carl, and Michonne, only for Rick to go bat-shit crazy and bite the neck out of the post-Governor antagonist Joe, leader of the Marauders. Audiences could rest easy again, that Daryl survived another season. But for how much longer will the character be safe?
Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead comic and writer/producer of the TV series, has said everyone in both the books and the show are not safe, including series protagonist Rick Grimes, who almost met his end at the conclusion of volume 1 of the comic Days Gone Bye.
Many people expect Rick to die before Daryl, however, there is still more story for Rick to come, especially since he’s still growing in the comics and show. Daryl, on the other hand, has grown into the character he needs to be, especially after stabbing his brother’s walking corpse in Season 3, revealing his problems with alcohol to Beth and beating his demons. He was even willing to sacrifice himself for his friends at the end of season 4. Daryl’s character has been fulfilled, however due to his popularity, Daryl cannot just bite the dust under just anyone’s hands. His death would need to mean something. He would need to become a martyr.
The Walking Dead TV series is notorious for switching character deaths with those who met their end in the comic series. One example is Tyrese and Hershel. In the comics, The Governor captures Tyrese instead of the religious old man and beheads him.
In recent pages of The Walking Dead comic series, Rick starts a war with a group of survivors who bully people into letting them protect their communities in exchange for half their supplies. They are called The Saviors, and they follow a myth named Negan, until it is revealed Negan is more than just a story. He is a living, breathing brute of a man with a weapon every it as lethal as he is; a baseball bat wrapped in barbed-wire Negan named Lucille. In volume 17 of the comic series, Rick and friends are ambushed by The Saviors after Rick killed most of their men. At gunpoint Rick, Maggie, Michonne, Heath, Glenn, Sophia and Carl are forced on their knees when Negan walks up to them. He pulls out his bat and picks a hero at random to kill to send a message of “Don’t fuck with me.” After singing “Innie-Minnie-Mynnie-Mo” to choose his victim, Negan lands at Glenn. As Glenn and the others plea for mercy, Negan shrugs it off and begins smashing in Glenn’s face, until nothing is left, but mush and an eye ball. Glenn’s death ignites an ALL OUT WAR which later leads into A NEW BEGINNING for the comic series.
In the television series, an appearance by Negan is inevitable, but once he does show up, Daryl’s death will be more meaningful then Glenn’s, solely because of how popular he is. If Negan chooses Daryl to kill this time, not only will Daryl’s death be a Martyr for Rick and his group, but also the viewers who would be standing alongside Rick, wanting Negan to pay for his crimes. And once the Negan arc comes to fruition, Daryl’s death will go on to mean for the A NEW BEGINNING arc.
And their you have it: Negan will be the one who kills Daryl Dixon!