Modern Family co-creator Christopher Lloyd announced ahead of Season 10 the comedy series would feature a "significant death" and ever since then folks have been wondering which character it could be. It's a possibility the show could end after the current season, which has led to speculation the death could be an older major character, for example, someone like Ed O'Neill's Jay. Ariel Winter may have just squashed those theories with recent comments that suggest the big death may not be the character some fans have been guessing. She said:
It's a character that we'll all be sad to see go, but it's probably not an older character that you think is going to go. We haven't ever really had a death on the show. It definitely impacts the family, as I think it impacts any family. You know, some people have never dealt with death or if it's a person close to them, they're having to deal with them because it's a tragedy, and you follow people's stories on how they do that and I think some people obviously take it better than others.
Ariel Winter added a "probably" in her statement, but her comment suggests folks may be barking up the wrong tree in assuming an older character will die in Modern Family Season 10. After all, one would think Winter may already know who is dying in the currently airing season, which makes the "probably" feel a lot more powerful in that context. That's good news for those who were hoping Ed O'Neill would stick around should the series get renewed or get a spinoff, although once again, it feels like everyone else is up for an untimely exit.
Ariel Winter's next statement to Entertainment Tonight appeared to indicate that exploring the death on the series should be an interesting prospect, as people in the Pritchett and Dunphy families won't be dealing with the character's passing in the same ways. She said in the interview:
It doesn't hit people right away and it's gonna be an episode that's pretty relevant to how people deal with it, and some people's struggles with the person that passed, and I think it's a pretty real episode. And we try to do everything lightheartedly and it's a show that people can enjoy, but also incorporate some real-life occurrences.
Ariel Winter said the episode will feel pretty "real" despite the show's penchant towards being funny most of the time. The sometimes candid Winter also said the death won't "hit people right away," and other people's struggles with the passed character seem to mean other characters will react to the death in different ways. That's pretty similar to how families deal with a death in real life, so it's unsurprising Modern Family will take that route in its attempt to emulate a tragedy most people experience.
Jay Pritchett has not been the only character fans have speculated could die, as a few frontrunners have appeared that link up with Ariel Winter's recent statements. One popular option suggests the death will be Hayley's on-and-off boyfriend Dylan Marshall. Dylan would be someone with varying connections to the family and not an "older character" audience members would expect to go. Others have suggested Cameron and Mitchell's friend Pepper Saltzman, although one has to ask whether either suggested character's exit would be a "significant death" as Christopher Lloyd teased.
Modern Family will reveal who dies sooner or later, as Season 10 airs on ABC Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET. For more on other shows that will air during the fall season, be sure to visit and bookmark our handy fall premiere guide.