The Walking Dead's fall premiere is finally upon us, with the apocalyptic drama returning in little more than a week's time. The premiere comes with the answer to a question fans have been posing since Season 6's finale back in April: who the hell did Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan kill? Last season's controversial cliffhanger saw the villain savagely murdering a mystery character, and the months that followed have been full of predictions and theories as to who bit the dust. And lately, it seems that AMC is trying to make us believe that everyone's favorite redneck, Daryl Dixon, would be dying in the opening moments of the premiere. But how seriously should we take this insinuation?
Prior to the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead, AMC has been airing commercials which included each of the main characters who are on the chopping block. We see their journey throughout the series, and wonder if we've seen the last of them. Perhaps no character trailer has been aired on the network as much as as Daryl Dixon's, which show the gruff loner as he developed bonds with Carol and became a leader of the group.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, though, as AMC also released a sneak peek scene from the finale, which heavily implied that Daryl had died. In the scene, we see Rick Grimes shocked and covered in the blood of one of his buddies. Since the blood is on the right side of Rick's face, it stands to reason that one of the character who is on Rick's right died. This includes likely candidates Glenn, Maggie, Abraham, and (of course) Daryl. But things get even crazier as the camera pans down to reveal the blanket that Daryl wearing in the finale- leading many to believe that Daryl bit the dust. You can check out the scene below.
Seems pretty ominous, right? The theory of Daryl's death was only increased because Dwight the Savior was seen in the trailers wearing Daryl's vest, riding his motorcycle, and using his crossbow.
However, I'm not going to be so easily duped by The Walking Dead. All of the above evidence can be reputed if you look closely enough. To start, Daryl was actually pretty far away from Rick in the line up, so if he were to get that bloody then it makes sense that someone closer to Rick's position actually died. And any number of events could have caused Daryl to lose his blanket in the premiere, especially since he's already suffering from a bullet wound and it not likely to care much about the stupid blanket.
The blanket defense may have another layer, though. If you look very closely into the bloody remains of Negan's victim, you can see what appears to be Maggie's wedding ring in the debris. The good folks over at TV Guide isolated the image alongside Maggie's wedding ring, and it is a pretty convincing argument that Maggie might die in the opening moments of the premiere. And since both Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Robert Kirkman have teased multiple deaths, Maggie and her unborn child would make mathematical sense.
But perhaps the best defense for Daryl's life is that his story has a ton of loose ends at the moment. To start, he and Carol didn't get anything close to a goodbye moment; the dynamic duo didn't have a ton of scenes together in Season 6, and now they're both off on their own journeys. The Daryl/Carol relationship is one of the most significant and unique in the series, and it wouldn't be able to end without some sort of grand goodbye.
Additionally, Daryl and Dwight still have a ton of crap to work out. Daryl risked his life to save Dwight and his group earlier in Season 6, and they repaid him by stealing his stuff and riding off. And while Dwight and Daryl have interacted a few times since, they haven't had any conversations of note. Surely this event has been eating away at our possum eating hero, and The Walking Dead would be remiss to not explore their relationship in Season 7.
So take that, AMC. I won't be fooled by your attempts to scare the fandom into believing Daryl is dead. His journey isn't done, and honestly, many fans just might stop watching if you kill the badass.