This article has been updated following The Walking Dead Season 9 premiere.
Staying alive on The Walking Dead is tricky.
Aside from the flesh-eating walkers, there’s limited food and resources, and other humans fighting for the little that’s left. Even if you’re strong (like Abraham) or resourceful (Glenn), you may not survive.
Season 7 saw the deaths of series regulars Sasha, Abraham, and of course, the aforementioned Glenn. His death at the hands of Negan was particularly hard because he was one of the original cast members. He was also the moral center of the survivors, refusing to kill (until he was forced to during the raid on the Saviors) and risking his life to save others.
While we just lost a regular, Gregory, during the Season 9 premiere, he wasn’t one of the old guard, having joined the series in Season 6. It was during the midseason premiere of Season 8 that we saw the most recent OG cast member depart, with the death of Carl Grimes — by his own hand.
Of the original cast members (which we define as principal or supporting roles from Season 1), only four remain. So who’s still alive as the zombie drama heads into Season 9?
As the protagonist of the series, it’s hard to imagine the showrunners killing off Rick. But it’s happened on other shows before (ahem, Game of Thrones). Rick’s survived being shot (thrice!), stabbed, and beaten to a pulp countless times. Rick takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
In the comics, Rick loses a hand (a la Jaime Lannister) to The Governor. Negan nearly took Carl’s hand in the Season 7 premiere — and while Negan hasn’t had an opportunity to separate Rick from any of his body parts yet, there’s still time, despite Negan currently being incarcerated. But with Rick leaving the show this season, and the fearsome Whisperers entering the fray, could he lose his hand to them? Or worse — his life?
If Daryl dies, we riot.
That’s been the mantra for Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) fans. A skilled archer and tracker with an aversion to sleeves, Daryl has survived the most harrowing of near-death situations. Viewers still haven’t gotten over the death of Glenn; if Daryl dies, it might be The Walking Dead’s jump the shark moment.
Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) has gone from meek and battered housewife to strong and assertive leader. She’s also more than capable on her own, having left the group multiple times only to return in times of need. Carol may have looser morals — she’s known to kill without remorse to ensure her survival — which makes her a survivor. One thing’s for sure — if Carol goes down, she’ll go down fighting.
Morgan (Lennie James) appeared in the first episode of The Walking Dead and didn’t reappear until the third season, finally joining the survivors in Season 5. Now that he is willing to take a human life, Morgan has become a huge threat, and when you’re a threat, you’re a target. Fans have seen Morgan move over to Fear the Walking Dead, after suffering something of a crisis, where he’s been dealing with his issues. Still, at the time of writing, very much alive, might we add.
With Andrew Lincoln leaving the series in Season 9, will Rick Grimes die? Fans will find out as The Walking Dead Season 9 unfurls.