Death is Coming to Community: Who's Getting Killed Off?

Yep, it's Thursday. Still no Community on the air. We don't care, we're still covering the show until NBC puts it back on the schedule. Well, I guess "until" isn't the right word because it's not like we're going to stop when it comes back on the air, you know? Semantics, po-TAH-to.


Community is about to get serious, you guys. Someone is dying. And not just dying inside like what's going on in Pierce's soul, I'm talking six-feet-under sleeping-with-the-fishes pushing-up-daisies off-to-the-great-community-college-in-the-sky dying.

While talking to TVGuide.com (pretty cool URL except for that "Guide" part), star Joel McHale said, "A character from the show will die." OMG please don't let it be Annie's Boobs OR Annie's boobs! McHale continued, "Someone you've seen a lot. And he dies in the mid-afternoon."

We should probably put our heads together and try to figure out who's going to be the stiff who passes on. First, let's examine the clues. According to Joel, it's a character. Oh right, we covered that part. Next clue: It's someone we've seen a lot. Well, that depends on your definition of "a lot," and Joel's perspective on the whole thing is skewed since he sees everyone from the show "a lot." A mid-afternoon death? Not sure there's anything there. All we got to go with is... "he," which narrows it down to about 50.00001 percent of the student body.

Let's take a look at the candidates, calculate their chances of death, and predict how each one might be killed:


Jeff Winger (Joel McHale)
Look, Community does some weird shit, but no way is this going to happen. This isn't Game of Thrones. (Note to self: Pitch Game of Thrones parody episode to Dan Harmon where all the main characters die, but it turns into a Dallas homage when it's discovered it was all a dream of Fat Neil's.)
Death Probability: Less than zero.
How We See It Happening: Allergic reaction to super expensive hair product causes his hair to fall out, kicking off a downward spiral of hair plugs that drill so deep into his brain they trigger involuntary muscle movements, thus forcing him to inadvertently flop into heavy traffic. Leonard has a senior moment behind the steering wheel of his pickup truck and crushes Jeff like a raspberry-jam-filled crepe.


Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi)

Not gonna happen. Even though Childish Gambino is blowing up like the Death Star. Not gonna happen. If Abed dies, so does Community.
Death Probability: Zilch.
How We See It Happening: The final Kickpuncher movie is announced. Abed straps dynamite to his chest in protest and goes to the movie studio. They think he's bluffing. Abed, bluff? No way. Doesn't even know what the word means. Troy is with him. It's sad. They do their handshake and BOOM. Security footage of the explosion is used in the next Kickpuncher movie after their suicide brings attention to the film franchise and audiences demand more.


Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase)
The only "main" character with a chance to go. He's had the most problems finding his groove in the show, particularly in Season 2 when he had that arc as a villain that was perceived by many to be confusing and unnecessary. Offing him would alleviate trying to force him to fit into the group. But let's not kid ourselves here. Chevy Chase is the legend in the cast, and diversity is the key to Community's success. He may just be the old guy, but he contrasts with the rest of the group very well. I'm not sick of Pierce as a bumbling, racist, elderly fool, and I doubt Dan Harmon is either. The only way Pierce goes is if Chevy wants off the show or has one of his noted problems with the cast or crew. But that's the old Chevy, and if there really was a problem on the set, there's no way Joel McHale would be blabbering about it.
Death Probability: Two percent.
How We See It Happening: Something to do with racism, obviously.


Ben Chang (Ken Jeong)

After a big start to Season 3, Chang has been mostly absent from the series. He's still in high demand and let's face it, there are going to be Hangover sequels until Bradley Cooper is 70. But Community would be bonkers for letting Jeong go. He just makes everything funnier. He's like MSG for comedy! And yes, I'm aware that's vaguely racist but I swear to you I didn't mean it that way. Me so sorry. Ugh! I didn't mean that to be racist either!
Death Probability: Half of one percent.
How We See It Happening: In the series' most meta episode yet, one of those weird haters from the audience that complains about Senor Chang murders him.


Dean Craig Pelton (Jim Rash)
Dean Pelton's come a long way since the show's pilot and is now one of the series' most loved characters. Rash is getting props for other work (he wrote The Descendants, for which he is nominated for an Oscar), so there's always the outside chance that he's looking to move on to become a big-time Hollywood scribe, but we doubt it. Unless budget cuts force Community to slash its wardrobe department (and therefore Dean's livelihood), he's not going anywhere.
Death Probability: Zero chance.
How We See It Happening: Trampled to death at a Michael Buble concert.


Robert Laybourne (John Goodman)

Vice Dean Laybourne hasn't even done anything yet. They can't kill him! However, Goodman has a pilot in the works (NBC's Downwardly Mobile with Roseanne Barr) and it's almost guaranteed to get picked up. The Goodman hire was a big deal, and his character has barely been used. There have to be plans for Laybourne coming. Could dying be one of them?
Death Probability: 14. 14 what? I dunno, 14... out of 15? Percent? Whatever comes to mind first.
How We See It Happening: He gets stuck in one of the air ducts in the school over spring break. Annie's Boobs feeds off his corpse until all the evidence is gone. Troy becomes president of the Air Conditioning Repair School and it burns to the ground under his watch.


Professor Ian Duncan (John Oliver)
Oh god I hope it's not Duncan. But it can't be easy for Oliver to be a regular contributor to The Daily Show in New York and also film Community in Los Angeles. And when you think about it, killing off his character in spectacular fashion is just the kind of thing the twisted Oliver would find very funny.
Death Probability: 10 percent.
How We See It Happening: Soccer ball to the groin.


Dr. Marshall Kane (Michael K. Williams)
As the professor of Biology who's recently sprung from the joint, Kane had his moments early. But it's painfully obvious that Williams, who is a regular on HBO's Boardwalk Empire, doesn't have the comedy chops to hang with the rest of the cast. Just as Betty White was around just for Season 2, it's all but definite that Kane is just a Season 3 character until the gang enrolls in a new class together for Season 4 (fingers crossed!). Plus (The Wire spoiler alert!), we all know what happened to Omar Little, so this wouldn't be a first for Williams.
Death Probability: 5 to 1. 20 percent.
How We See It Happening: Kane's history behind bars catches up with him. Drive-by at Greendale, with Annie and Shirley chasing off the perps in a golf cart!


Alex "Star-Burns" Osbourne (Dino Stamatopoulos)

Well, he's a druggie, a drug dealer, and a background character. That's three strikes against his Death Clock. Dino is also a producer on the show, so it's not like he'd totally leave the program.
Death Probability: 4.20 percent.
How We See It Happening: When Britta's weed dealer is unavailable, she goes to Star-Burns for some dank. But Britta's weed dealer finds out, targets Star-Burns as some major competition, and runs up on him with a 12-gauge. For kicks, he shaves off Star-Burns' trademark sideburns and wears 'em as a necklace.


Leonard Briggs (Richard Erdman)
I think the old man is the obvious choice. Which is why it isn't going to happen. It's way too easy. Community doesn't work that way.
Death Probability: Little-known fact... Leonard is immortal.
How We See It Happening: Choking on frozen pizza during a video review. It goes on to becomes his most-watched YouTube video.


Rich Stephenson (Greg Cromer)
The much-liked doctor and occasional wearer of banana costumes, Rich makes a good target from a sitcom standpoint. If you kill someone off, you want them to have an impact. Rich is popular, good-looking, and a doctor! In other words, he's a dead man.
Death Probability: One in three.
How We See It Happening: Even in death, Rich has it good. During a Greendale basketball game, Rich, the starting point guard, becomes a posthumous hero after saving Britta's life by shoving her out the way of Leonard's pickup truck just in the nick of time. Unfortunately, Leonard clips him, shooting his body into the Greendale Gymnasium and through the hoop for three points just as time expires for a win. Troy tries to revive him, and asks, "Is anyone here a doctor!?!?" Rich, in his last action as a living person, raises his hand.


Fat Neil (Charley Koontz)

Fat Neil already had his brush with death in "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons." He's too much of a necessary punching bag to really be considered for death. Plus, killing off the fat guy isn't Community's style. Fat is celebrated in this show. Just ask creator Dan Harmon. Just kidding, Dan!
Death Probability: Low. Some low number. Make one up.
How We See It Happening: After pounding several quick weight-loss magic capsules to impress Vicky, Fat Neil is finally skinny enough to get on the very crowded early commuter bus. That bus drives off a cliff, killing everyone inside, after Leonard 's pickup truck runs it off the road.


Andre Bennett (Malcolm-Jamal Warner)
Wow. If he died, leaving Shirley a single mom, that would just be plain sad. But you know what? A Community episode that was just REALLY sad would also be kind of funny.
Death Probability: [random number]
How We See It Happening: Shirley dries his sweater on hot, shrinking it so much it chokes him to death. I know what you're saying. "But if it's so tight, how would he be able to get it on?" Cosby kids always find a way. Or Leonard runs over him in his pickup truck. Look, I just want Leonard to kill someone with his truck, okay?


Magnitude (Luke Youngblood)
Normally, I can't see someone as bizarre and funny getting killed off. But creative types get restless with one-note characters, and Harmon might opt to kill Magnitude off just because he's sick of "Pop pop!" or too bored to give the guy any more depth.
Death Probabilty: Two out of five pops.
How We See Him Going Out: Too much popcorn. Or maybe his hot-air balloon pops. Or his water bed pops, drowning him. Or his Pops shoots him. Maybe the Boston Pops murder him? You get the pop. I mean point.


Garrett Lambert (Erik Charles Nielsen)
No way. No way would they kill Garrett "Crisis Alert!" Lambert. No way. Don't. Just don't.
Death Probability: Somewhere between zero and 100 percent.
How We See It Happening: Auto-erotic asphyxiation. Go on, get the mental image in your brain. You're welcome.


Why can't it just be Vicky?


Which character do you think Community will kill off? And more importantly, HOW?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (65)
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I really enjoyed all of these possible death scenarios. Magnitude is my favorite. I can't even fathom a guess on who it will be, I'm just glad the show is coming back! I love Jeff Winger. Have you seen this Joel McHale interview yet? He's at the Writer's Guild Awards, and while the interview is short, he still manages to get some cracks in there!
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actually, if troy and abed die, it'll be a suicide over the unjust cancellation of firefly. god get it right!!
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VIcky or Duncan: Vicky because it would be hilarious that no one would remember her or miss her, except for her yellow shirt and hat. Duncan because they could definitely come up with some funny thing about him being drunk doing something stupid in the afternoon which would end up getting him in the end.
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What about Annie's Boobs? We've seen (both of them) a lot. And the Dean/Greendale could really go crazy with some sort of monkey funeral/talent show/career day. They'd probably try to memorialize the air ducts, or something.
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the mascot
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I've heard that it's definitely not in the main cast. I really hope it's not Leonared! I would be devastated if he left! Leonard FTW!



Also #120seasonsandthemoon
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Please be Chang, I'd like to watch this show without having to have a remote in my hand to fast forward his scenes.
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Probably Leonard
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Hope its Jeff, so obnoxious in the non-good way :p
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My money is on Robert Laybourne. My thought: Troy and Dean Pelton is getting together to bring down Robert. Troy's motive: Robert is threatning Troy to become a genetor, which Troy won't, he tells Pelton hoping he can do something. Pelton's motive: Well, he just won't to rang out Robert. They are making a plan against him, and it backfires, and thereby killing Robert off. The Dean will once again reign the school.
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So far, he's been in a total of two episodes. I don't feel that rises to the level of "a lot".
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I would guess it's either Leonard or Star-Burns. But in all honestly I don;t really care who it is as long as it's not Abed, and to a lesser extent Troy.
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Really??? The brown guy gets the suicide bomber bit? I mean, at least you owned the racism of the MSG comment, but c'mon.



Annnnyway, it's Leonard.
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I think it's a reference to Troy and Abed's suicide pact for Firefly by Joss Whedon?
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That was only a staged suicide if either one dies, not a suicide bombing.
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Wait until it's back then cover the show, it's a good show but realistically it only has 4 or 5 seasons max in it and that's at a push. It's no Arrested Development and that show only lasted 3 seasons......
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I think it's much better than Arrested Development. #sixseasonsandamovie
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No comedy in the history of television even touches Arrested Development. It is the most well written and well acted sitcom ever.
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Malcom in the Middle way way better than any other sitcom
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Leonard Briggs (Richard Erdman)
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right now they're all dead... i pray for a resurrection!!!!!
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Oh, I think it's the Human Being Mascot / Greendale Mascot. How? Speculate below... :D
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What about Officer Cackowski? He's been in six episodes, started as a Greendale security guard. I like the idea of him getting hit by Leonard's truck, or being trapped in a shoe safe.
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My first thought was Starburns, but now I'm thinking Vice Dean Laybourne. As you say, Goodman has other priorities now. I could see why John Oliver would want to make his life a little easier, but I'd be a bit gutted if was our token Brit. I think he should be in it more, not less. I'll have a think about some causes of death!
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Reading this, I got a vibe that it might be Beetlejuice. Maybe a little too obscure? How about Inspector Spacetime, have we seen enough of him to qualify? I wouldn't mind if it was the Dean, but I'd need his death to be moving and emotional so thinking of a funny death scene wouldn't work.
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Question Tim, Think it's "accidental" that Community goes on forced hiatus and then gets a big build-up and promos and rumors??
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they can kill off everybody but the main 7 cast members and I'll be fine with it AS LONG AS IT COMES BACK ASAP!



personally I'd be fine with a Chang-less Community.. he's always gotten on my nerves.. but I think it'll be John Goodman's character
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I thought I was the only one who didn't find Chang's character to be amusing in the slightest! He was funny as the Spanish teacher but after that ended he just got irritating. Although, he adds an element to the show.. I vote they axe John Goodman's character. Wasn't impressed by it anyway.
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I was okay with first season Chang, but I definitely dislike him now. Kind of bugs me when he shows up in an otherwise perfect episode, like Paradigms of Human Memory.
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Give a limelight episode for Star-burns and kill him at the end of that episode.
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I'd guess Star-burns or Magnitude.
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Just come back already.
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well I hope its not some kind of a metaphor that the whole show is going to die, but who ever it is! I want the show back! please #sixseasonsandamovie
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Yeah, Dino asked to be written out before (he works behind the scenes on the show, normally), so I'm guessing it'll be Starburns.
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its not gonna be the main cast, durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
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I think it will be the human being mascot
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Is this a joke? NBC made it clear they do not want to support the show any longer.
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jeje starburns got 4.20% of dying. I see what you did there.
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So it's an actual character and not the whole show? Because unfortunately it seems like nobody watches this show.
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I dub drudager's comment the most street behind comment in this timeline. Also nobody likes trolls.
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I say Starburns, but it would be awesome it was Rich and they all find out that he was a serial killer.
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I hope it's Todd. That guy sucks. Actually, in one of the commentaries they say that Dino doesn't really like acting, so I think it could be him. How? He adds one more element to his repertoire of ways to get noticed (star-burns, top hat, lizard), and this one is deadly.
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They'd have said if it were a main character, and seen a lot narrows it down even further. Leonard would be too dark, Magnitude has only been in a handful of eps, he just makes an impression, Garrett would be a non-event and also doctoring in mid-afternoon. It's Star-Burns. This is Community though, so the how is completely unpredictable. I'm gonna go with untreated gonorrhea.
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POP POP!
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I don't care who dies unless its someone awesome...which is everyone...ugh i just what to show to come back!!
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I originally thought about The Dean but I dont think the show would be the same without him. I am thinking the Vice Dean Now.
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Starburns
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My money is on Leonard...
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I vote for bringing Jack Black to come back for a Michael Bay, explosion-fest of a death scene. And it should possibly start with him teaming up with Annie's Boobs in a BJ and the Bear'esque mystery.
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The only character I can think of that might die but isn't on this list is the Greendale Human Being.



Maybe the College Board decides the Human Being is a bad school mascot and tells the Dean to kill him off and replace him with, uh, a hawk? The Dean then decides to hold a funeral/school dance for the Human Being.
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I'm sure it wont be anyone in the main cast. Also, if it really is someone that's appeared quite often, I doubt it'll be Vice Dean Laybourne or Oma -- uh, Dr. Kane.



I assume it'll be one of Starburns, Leonard, or Magnitude. Of the three, I'd guess Starburns is the one to die. Either Leonard or Magnitude dying seems like it would be boring.



He'll probably die from something drug-related... duh-doy. I think Starburns will decide to shave-sculpt the stars in his sideburns after smoking a ton of pot. He accidentally cuts himself, but due to being very high, he doesn't know how to stop it and bleeds out.
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Either it will be John Goodman's character... or it will a character introduced in the episode who just suddenly dies. I can easily see the latter. Think about what community does. It does jokes in this style. It had a clip show about episodes and scene we never saw. This would be a perfect joke.. Introduce a new classmate and then someone have him killed off in the same episode. Maybe Pierce inadvertently causes the guys death..
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'You get the pop.' Lol, love it.

I'm in two minds about someone dying, as you never know how a show will be without them. I hate Britta (ugh!), but I wouldn't risk Community without her because the show is too damned good! I'd rather have Laybourne die because we haven't seen that much of him, but I think it'll be Star-Burns or Magnitude.
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:( Britta rules! Why does nobody seem to get her?
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Huh, I suspected it would be Annie's Boobs. I couldn't imagine a human character being killed off at Greendale, well except for Pierce's dad...and the first Glee club...and several other characters were in near-death experiences. They may as well rename the school Grimsdale.
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Hah, you were worried about the Senor Chang thing being racist, but you had Abed going down in a suicide bombing? Hah!



Also, the best bit was your description of Rich's death.
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My guess it is either going to be Leonard or John Goodman. Goodman will ironically be crushed to death by an Air Conditioning Unit. Or Leonard will be skateboarding and the Dean will acciDEANtally hit him with a car. (he has a car, right?). Or it could be awesome. It could be like the movie Very Bad Things. And they are all staying around the school and accidentally kill Vicky and then go about trying to hide her body all the while turning on each other. That would be fun.



Or Kick Puncher comes to life and kills Starburns.



I really don't care how they die just as long as Community comes back as quick as possible.



#sixseasonsandamovie
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Gus would be so cool as a terrifying dean... or a terrifying anything really....
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Yeah he would be a great dean, when I first heard the casting news I thought he would be great as Troy's father
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Lol I love this article Tim its hilarious, and I am so excited that Gus is going to be on the show whenever we get it back!
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Thanks! Totally agree about Gus... so psyched!
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Starburns... Overdose
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