Spoilers below for The Walking Dead comics that coincide with this and future timelines for the TV series, so be warned.
For a character to meet a gruesome death on The Walking Dead, it's as natural as a moth being drawn to a flame or a Savior being drawn to a leather-wearing sadist. Even though the AMC hit has a new showrunner leading the narrative charge, The Walking Dead won't be shying away from major deaths in Season 9. And on top of all the new characters coming in, we can probably expect to see quite a few currently familiar faces being wiped out of existence.
From the news that has already surfaced (such as Andrew Lincoln's big farewell) to the comics that we can use to draw our conclusions, all possibilities are on the table now. So let's take a look at the Walking Dead characters that are most likely to die in horrific situations. Naturally, we'll start with the most surefire pick of the bunch.
Chances of Dying: 99% probability and counting
Why Is It So Likely?: Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes has long been considered one of the only unkillable characters on The Walking Dead, but those assumptions were proven wrong when it was revealed the actor himself chose to exit the show to spend more time with his family. His death wouldn't seem quite as guaranteed had the actor merely been dealing with a scheduling issue, as is the case with Lauren Cohan. And to be fair, Rick might get spared and allowed to live out in the wilderness, never to be found again. But he won't be, because that would be the cheapest move imaginable.
Did It Happen In The Comics?: Rick is still alive and mostly well in the comics, although he has suffered quite a few more permanent injuries than his television counterpart. Perhaps TV Rick could lose a hand before losing his life entirely.
Chances of Dying: 95%
Why Is It So Likely?: Gregory is about as useful to all the other Walking Dead characters as a dry bowl of cereal is to a cow, and that analogy makes as much sense as keeping Gregory on the show for 17 more episodes. To his credit, Xander Berkeley is excellent in the role, and is capable of being as irksome and petty as the role constantly calls for, but I don't see how he even made it through the time jump without Maggie turning him into horse feed.
Did It Happen In The Comics?: That it did, once Gregory finally went too far with his petulance. It's unclear if the TV show will play things out in the same manner, given how ghastly the entire situation was on the page, but I'm pretty sure we'll get some version of it.
Chances of Dying: 85-90%
Why Is It So Likely?: Now that Oceanside is one of the go-to communities in the post-Negan world, we're going to see a handful of those characters more in Season 9. Which almost necessarily means that one of them is going to die before much longer. And, honestly, Beatrice's quasi-victimization here is more process of elimination than anything else. Cyndie probably won't bite it, since her grandmother Natania died last season, and Kathy has even less of a visual presence, so Beatrice it must be.
Did It Happen In The Comics?: Nope, since Beatrice and the rest of the Oceanside women were not part of Robert Kirkman's original Walking Dead narrative. It is possible that her death, should it happen, will be a remixed version of someone else's death from the comics.
Anne / Jadis
Chances of Dying: 80%
Why Is It So Likely?: After two seasons of being the weird woman in the junkyard who sometimes liked to paint naked, Pollyanna McIntosh's character shed her "Jadis" persona and returned to being the artful Anne, who apparently becomes a major player within the group in Season 9. But unless the show immediately starts spinning deeper storytelling with Anne, I think she'll be one of the most expendable main characters in the bunch as the season drives forward. I foresee something going terribly wrong with that helicopter, just when everyone thinks that some form of escape is within grasp; and I hope they show who's actually in the helicopter when that goes down.
Did It Happen In The Comics?: Nope. Jadis is exclusive to the TV show, and doesn't even have a loose comparison from the comics. But she does seem ripe to become one of the Whisperers' first victims, given her particular head shape.
Head to the next page to see the characters who have much better chances of dying this season.