The big upcoming death on Modern Family probably won’t be Ed O’Neill’s Jay Pritchett, despite heavy fan speculation. Modern Family’s co-creator Christopher Lloyd turned fan expectations upside down before the landmark season 10 by revealing a major character would die during the course of the year. The death, which isn’t something the family sitcom has touched on much, is expected to greatly impact all of the characters.
With that information in mind, many fans have assumed that Modern Family’s patriarch Jay would be killed off. At 72 years old, Ed O’Neill is the oldest member of the Modern Family cast and as Jay he has a direct connection to everyone on the series, being either their father, grandfather or husband. Yet, according to one Modern Family cast member, fans shouldn't assume that Jay will be the ill-fated character.
In an interview with Cinema Blend, Ariel Winter, who plays the middle Dunphy daughter Alex, gave the biggest hint yet to who will die since the initial tease. Winter was far from explicit and didn’t even come to close to naming who will be killed off. However, there’s quite a lot to infer from her comments and the bottom line is that age might not be a factor for who meets their end on Modern Family. Winter explained:
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.
Winter’s comment is full of the typical actress subterfuge. Saying that the person who will die is “probably not an older character that you think is going to go” is not the same as saying Jay definitely isn’t going to die. It does heavily imply, though, that Jay’s life is safe for Modern Family season 10. At the very least, Winter is suggesting that age won’t be a factor in who ends up being killed off. The death will likely be a lot more sudden. (Although, that could’ve been assumed from the beginning, seeing as no Modern Family character has had serious longtime health issues on the show.)
Modern Family could still pull a switcheroo, of course. Winter could be leading people off the trail of Jay's demise to simply make his death that would devastating. That seems unlikely, however. There's no reason for Winter to mislead the audience and Modern Family has never been a comedy built on plot twists.
Assuming that Winter's comments mean that Jay is safe for the time being, it also raises questions about who will die instead. Season 10 is rumored to be the series’ last season. Yet, if the show does go beyond season 10, it wouldn’t be unthinkable for one of the actors to want to move on and pursue other projects. This could be the motivating factor, rather than the character's age, that leads to the death. Most of the Modern Family cast has been very successful since the show’s premiere in 2009. However, Ty Burrell who plays Phil Dunphy, has probably been the busiest, with several roles in TV and film since Modern Family became a smash hit. Burrell might want to move on from the show and the death of Phil would have as great, if not greater, impact on the Modern Family cast as losing Jay.
Source: Cinema Blend