'The Walking Dead' star Norman Reedus says 'big deaths' are coming — here are the 10 characters most likely to die this season

Gene Page/AMCWhether he likes it or not, Daryl will have to say goodbye to his ‘brother,’ Rick, at some point on season nine.

Warning: There are potential spoilers ahead for “The Walking Dead.”

The Walking Dead” has a huge ensemble cast of characters trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. With more new characters joining the cast this season, you can prepare to say goodbye to a few longtime favourites.

Season nine already launched with the death of a big character, and that won’t be the only one we’ll see this season. Norman Reedus, who plays fan-favourite Daryl Dixon, recently told Entertainment Weekly fans should expect to see some “big deaths” as the season unfolds.

Who will live and who will die? In the comics, the next set of villains enter the scene in an unforgettable way, and we’re expecting to see a lot of the same play out on screen.

INSIDER put together a guide of which members of the Hilltop, Kingdom, Sanctuary, Alexandria, and beyond are most likely to be zombie chow or be killed in the episodes to come.

10. Ezekiel — 30%

Victoria Will/AMCEzekiel meets a terrible fate in the comics that we hope we don’t see on screen.

The first two episodes of season nine have been pushing the Ezekiel/Carol romance really hard. It would be heart-wrenching to see Carol get ready for a proposal or a wedding only to have it all taken away from her.

When the next set of villains, the Whisperers, arrive in the comics, they behead a number of major characters from the comics and place their heads on spikes along a border. Ezekiel is among the most prominent and shocking of those deaths.

Creator Robert Kirkman said at New York Comic Con we’ll see “some super creepy, really intense moments” from the comics. Will he meet the same fate or will another character receive his comic death? We’re hoping the king sticks around with two other big departures set for this season.

9. Michonne — 35%

Gene Page/AMCWe can’t lose Andrew Lincoln, Chandler Riggs, and Danai Gurira.

Corey Hawkins isn’t the only one who made it big enough to leave “The Walking Dead.” Danai Gurira made a huge splash in theatres in both “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” this year. Both movies crossed $US1 billion at the box office and you know Gurira is heading back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for next summer’s “Avengers 4,” which just wrapped filming.

But honestly, if Lincoln is leaving the show and there’s a possibility for Lauren Cohan to leave if her ABC show takes off as well, how long do you expect Gurira to stick around? It will be tough when Marvel, and possibly others, have their eyes on her.

8. Rick — 40%

Jackson Lee Davis/AMCIs Rick going to greener pastures?

Andrew Lincoln confirmed he’ll leave “The Walking Dead” this season, but we’re not sure how the sheriff will part ways with the AMC series. There are multiple ways Rick could depart, but even fans are split over whether or not he’ll get killed off the show or wander off to greener pastures.

While the season’s official trailer teased Rick walking with a bloody boot, we have a feeling that might be a red herring. Creator Robert Kirkman promised us a “cool” way for Rick to leave the series. Would it be cool to just kill off your show’s lead character a short season after killing off his son? We don’t think so.

If AMC is planning on making more shows and a potential movie in “The Walking Dead” universe, you definitely want Lincoln available.

7. Eugene — 42%

Victoria Will/AMCIs Eugene too important to be killed off of ‘The Walking Dead’?

Eugene has flip-flopped allegiances several times in the zombie apocalypse now. Though he’s still living at the Sanctuary, it wouldn’t surprise us if the Saviors were sceptical of Eugene living there since he did injure many of the people who lived there who fought alongside Negan.

Eugene’s still alive in the comics, but it definitely doesn’t seem like the safest place for Rick’s bullet and ammunition maker as there are some Saviors around who still see Negan as their leader.

6. Father Gabriel — 45%

Jackson Lee Davis/AMCWill being blinded in one eye affect Gabriel’s survival chances on season nine?

Father Gabriel should really be counting his blessings that he’s still alive. The man let his congregation die outside his church and then survived a virus that nearly took his life. Although becoming a valued member of the Alexandria community, Gabriel only has eyesight in his left eye currently, which could prove detrimental for his survival moving forward.

Without giving too much away, Gabriel is about to get himself into some trouble this season and we’re not sure where it will take him or if he’ll be giving his life for his community.

5. Maggie — 50%

Jackson Lee Davis/AMCIf Lauren Cohan’s ABC series takes off, could we be saying a permanent farewell to Maggie?

A lot of the focus is on Lincoln leaving the show on the first half of season nine, but a lot of fans don’t realise Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie, will also be stepping away, at least for a time.

Cohan told People she’ll be on the first six episodes of season nine. A role on new ABC show, “Whiskey Cavalier,” premiering mid-season, may influence her future on “The Walking Dead.”

We plan on seeing Maggie return if “Whiskey Cavalier” doesn’t take off. For the moment, executive producer Greg Nicotero told INSIDER things with Maggie could be left “open-ended” this season. On Sunday’s episode, Maggie’s right-hand man Jesus hinted at what that “open-ended” future may be. He mentioned that last season’s mystery character, Georgie, keeps asking her to join her on her travels.

4. Jesus — 55%

Jackson Lee Davis/AMCDid Tom Payne grow out those long gorgeous locks just to be killed off?

Actor Tom Payne’s name was recently added to the opening credits and though we’ve seen more of Jesus, we’re a little nervous we’re getting set up for some serious heartbreak.

If Maggie rides off into the sunset with Georgie for a while, losing Jesus may be the impetus to send her packing.

3. Anne — 60%

Gene Page/AMCWill Anne be able to assimilate into the group or will she ultimately fly away or doom the group through her connection to the mystery helicopter?

Anne admits to Gabriel that she feels a bit like an outsider to the entire group despite being taken in by them and making personal artwork for Maggie.

Though she has found a potential romantic relationship with Father Gabriel, the mystery of the helicopter clearly looms over her. As we’re waiting to learn who’s in the chopper that we’ve seen for a few seasons, we’re a little worried for Anne’s life or for the potential danger she may bring to the group of survivors.

2. Tara — 62%

Gene Page/AMCWill Tara continue to just skate by in the background of ‘The Walking Dead’?

Tara has been skating by on “The Walking Dead” for the past few seasons in the background as Rick and the group have taken charge. Tara was originally aligned with the Governor before Glenn enlisted her to help him find Maggie and more members of his group.

Her recent contributions to the group have included being a lookout and getting outraged at the Saviors for having killed her girlfriend, Denise. Despite bringing the Oceanside ladies into the fold, if there were ever an expendable character on the series right now, it’s definitely Tara.

If she were to go, Tara should really try and clear up the mystery of what happened to her old buddy, Heath, who she abandoned on the show’s seventh season.

1. Rosita — 65%

Jackson Lee Davis/AMCRosita just seems to be taking on way too much responsibility this season while still sitting relatively in the background.

Rosita (Christian Serratos) has really grown on us the past season.

Sure, she was a bit reckless like Sasha for a while, but on season nine, she appears to be a real leader of the group leading the diversions of walker herds. “The Walking Dead” has been setting up Rosita as more of a lead. She was even given the famous line from the comic, “I believe in Rick Grimes,” which was originally said by Maggie.

So why are we worried about her?

Rosita gets one of the most unexpected surprise deaths in the comics when the Whisperers arrive on the scene. We know they’re coming, and we’re expecting to see something similar play out on screen if Robert Kirkman’s tease at New York Comic Con is to be believed.

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