Spoilers for those not caught up on The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead actor Seth Gilliam knows exactly how he wants Father Gabriel to die. Well into its eighth season, The Walking Dead has firmly established itself as a TV series where - much like the comic series on which it's based - no character is safe and no actor can count on remaining with the show for the whole run. Any doubts about that still remaining for viewers after all these years were surely put to rest after the show's most recent death - teenage and original character Carl Grimes.
Who lives and dies on the show is often unpredictable as the writers sometimes deviate from the comics in order to keep things unpredictable. Sometimes the bravest and most capable characters die within a few episodes of being introduced. And sometimes the most cowardly and incapable, people who are practically useless in a world of walkers, survive for years. One character who has surprisingly survived for a long time on the show is Father Gabriel Stokes.
Father Gabriel actor Seth Gilliam spoke to TVGuide about how he wants to see Father Gabriel die on the show. In spite of expecting his character to die back in the fifth season when he was first introduced - probably setting up a much bigger character like Tyrese to also die while protecting him - Father Gabriel has survived for years. If the character does die on the show, Gilliam wants the same death as the character got in the comics: "It was a fantastically operatic death. Hanging upside with broken bones and being slit open and fed upon by an entire herd of walkers I think is definitely a way to go out." Though Gilliam said he would not mind if the character died in his sleep from old age.
Rick Grimes and his group first found Father Gabriel hiding in his own church, where he had been since the dead first began to walk. Father Gabriel was a nervous and shaken man, wracked with guilt for keeping his congregation locked out in the early days. He was no fighter for a long time, abhorring violence and allowing others to protect him, even betraying Rick and the others to the people of Alexandria. But over time, he's grown and become a more valuable member of the team. Now he's a prisoner of the Saviors and very ill with an infection, so his death seems as likely as it did back when he wouldn't even raise a gun to defend himself.
The Walking Dead is currently suffering from constantly lowering ratings, including their least viewed midseason premiere in eight seasons. It does look like season 9 is moving forward but if ratings do not improve then it could be the last. At this point - assuming he survives his illness - Father Gabriel might just make it to the end after all. He just has to last longer than the show does.
The Walking Dead continues on AMC with "The Lost and the Plunderers" on Sunday March 4 at 9pm.