The long delayed finale of season 10 of The Walking Dead finally brought an end to the war against the Whisperers with the death of Beta and the defeat of his army of the undead. While such outcomes are more or less a given in story arcs, what’s not as certain is who will make it to the end, as the show has become almost as notorious as Game of Thrones for mercilessly offing its characters with alarming regularity. However, news of future developments involving certain individuals has often ended up spoiling the reveal of their survival.
When it was announced that a spinoff series would feature Daryl and Carol, it let fans know that they would survive not only the season finale, but also all the way through the upcoming season 11 to the series’ conclusion. While Daryl is a firm favorite of the audience – “If Daryl dies we riot” is a popular refrain among fans – there was no guarantee that a suitably dramatic death wasn’t planned for him at the show’s final climax.
Similarly, Carol has grown from a presence of dubious purpose who survived two major cast cullings despite it being clear that at the time the writers had no idea what to do with her, to someone arguably just as stoically badass as the crossbow-wielding redneck and who might equally have been set up for an epic demise were it not for outside information making her survival a certainty.
This is far from the first time that external news has clued in viewers to plans for characters, of course. When the pilot for espionage action comedy Whiskey Cavalier was picked up, Lauren Cohan’s commitments were clearly about to change, meaning something was going to happen to Maggie to explain her absence, and it was only with that series’ unjust cancellation after just a single short season that the actress was able to return. Similarly, Lauren Ridloff being cast as a retooled version of Makkari in Eternals meant Connie couldn’t be around for the whole time and so she had to be written out, albeit temporarily.
While the popularity of some characters makes their deaths unlikely, it being demonstrably inevitable removes much of the dramatic tension when they’re in peril. The Walking Dead might pride itself on nobody ever being truly safe, but such uncertainty can only be maintained without advanced knowledge of what the actors will be doing, something that’s increasingly sparse in a world of ever-increasing hunger for knowledge of every detail of entertainment productions.