You know characters are going to kick the bucket on a show called "The Walking Dead" -- it's just a matter of which characters and when. The Powers That Be like to claim "no one is safe" on TWD, but please. Certain people are definitely safe. (Cough*Daryl*Cough) But certain people are definitely expendable, too. There are currently about 16 regular cast members going into Season 5, not even counting new guys like Gareth at Terminus and Father Gabriel Stokes, who made a brief appearance in the Comic-Con trailer. So we won't cry too hard if they pare it down to a dirty dozen or fewer. We all have our favorites -- and honestly we're not wishing death on any of these guys -- but some storylines are more crucial to the series than others. On that note, here's a character ranking, from most expendable to least.

*Warning: Walking Dead comic book spoilers referenced on occasion*

16. Tara
Alanna Masterson as Tara - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMCTara (Alanna Masterson) was the first one to agree to The Governor's (David Morrissey) really bad plan to storm the prison. She lost her sister, her niece, her girlfriend, and her self-respect. In penance, she vowed to help Glenn (Steven Yeun) find Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Weirdly enough, it worked. Gleggie reconnected, and Tara lost her main storyline. Now what? She seems like a cool girl, but she's not exactly a warrior and there's no particular reason to keep her around when the group is already this big. She did her job, and did it well. So ... bye?

15. Bob
Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCBob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) still has some 'splainin' to do, so he can't die until he gives us more info on why he was the last man standing in his last two groups. There are some mysteries to this guy, and we appreciate his optimistic spirit. But Bob did say he didn't want to be alone again, so it would make sense for him to die while still a part of the group. Give Bob a hero's death -- maybe in the arms of his semi-girlfriend, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green)!

14. Rosita
Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMCRosita (Christian Serratos) is hot, so she's equal opportunity eye candy to balance out the Daryl drooling, but other than dressing like a human blow-up doll, what is her function? Hopefully we learn more about Rosita in Season 5, and it's possible she'll completely change our minds about her expendability. But until then, she's on notice. It's not enough to just be the girlfriend of the guy whose mission is to get this other guy to Washington, D.C. Justify your existence, lady!

13. Baby Judith
Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 14 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCYep, the line for hell starts behind us. Baby Judith is cute, but as a TV show character she's not exactly pulling her weight. Judy definitely has to survive long enough for an emotional reunion with her father Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and brother Carl (Chandler Riggs), but there are only so many scenes we can take of people passing her from one person to the other, worrying about how to take care of her on the road. This world is tough even for hardened adults, never mind kids. (Just ask Sophia, Lizzie, Mika, Luke, Molly and every other child at the prison.) If they find a safe zone (hint hint), Judith could be just fine, but this is already longer than she lived in the comics, and we already have a Grimes child to follow into adulthood.

12. Abraham
Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 15 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCAbraham (Michael Cudlitz) is funny and cool and has amazing orange hair, but there's currently a surplus of alpha males in the cast. The comics didn't really have this issue at this point in the story, since certain people were already gone and others didn't exist in print. It remains to be seen what his role will be going forward, but our loyalties are with the alpha guys we already knew before he showed up.

11. Eugene
Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCEugene's (Josh McDermitt) mullet is a work of modern art to be celebrated and protected, but the rest of him is just OK. He has a dubious mission to get to Washington, D.C., and connect with others about a cure, and it remains to be seen how that goes. At the very least, he seems like a clever guy, if nothing close to a warrior, so maybe his brain will come in handy.

10. Sasha
Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMCSassy Sasha needs to reunite with her brother Tyreese (Chad Coleman), whom she didn't even seem to worry about in the second half of Season 4. Sasha can get a little negative at times, but that's what makes her such a good match for happy-go-lucky Bob. Of the two, Sasha has more potential as a character. She has a pragmatic, borderline-ruthless streak like New Carol (Melissa McBride). Sasha is also a good shot, and has potential to be the new Andrea on that front, since someone should probably fill that role from the comics. She doesn't get to date Rick, though -- someone else should get that part of Andrea's character. (See below.)

9. Tyreese
Tyreese (Chad Coleman) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 14 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCTyreese had Hershel's katana-to-neck death in the comics, so he's in uncharted territory on TV. Poor Ty probably wished for death a few times in Season 4, from losing his girlfriend Karen to watching crazy Lizzie kill her sister, then watching Carol kill Lizzie, then hearing Carol confess to killing Karen. Calgon, take him away! Tyreese has a soft heart and it's nice to have a big guy with a marshmallow center on a show with so many hardened people. Ty is a good egg, now he just needs to get off manny duty and get a creative storyline.

8. Beth
Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCBeth (Emily Kinney) finally got some quality character development in Season 4, including soul-to-soul bonding time with Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus). We like this "new sheriff in town"! Still, TWD loves to give characters major showcases just before making them disappear. Good for Beth for getting what looks like a major storyline in Season 5, but if Hershel can die, any Greene can die.

7. Maggie
Lauren Cohen as Maggie - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMCIt would suck to lose the entire Greene family, and to break up Glenn and Maggie, but if we're ranking people, Maggie goes here. Sorry, but our loyalties are (mostly) with the original Atlanta OGs. Maggie has become such a badass on her own -- leaving notes in walker blood = genius! -- even if her storyline always seems to be tied to Glenn (and vice versa). She needs to search for her sister in Season 5, and maybe eventually get back on track to makin' babies with Glenn, but it would be great for her to find a way to branch out on her own. If the TV show follows the comics, she'll get her chance.

6. Glenn
Glenn (Steven Yeun) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 15 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCGlenn has changed so much since Season 1, it's amazing. But he's still the same brave guy who volunteers for dangerous missions and always puts others ahead of himself. Love him for that. It would be easy to see Glenn sacrificing himself to save Maggie -- or just about anyone. But don't forget, this is the guy who killed a walker in Woodbury while tied to a chair. He also fought his way back into the prison after The Governor's battle, hung out inside the place by himself, fought his way back out, helped to get Tara out too, punched Abraham in the face, and eventually found Maggie. Glenn can do anything.

5. Carl
Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCCarl can be incredibly annoying, but for storyline purposes, Carl may outlive everyone, including Rick. "The Walking Dead" is as much Carl's story as Rick's, and he's the main reason we don't need a ton of kids around -- we're already following this one into adulthood. That said, Carl is still sometimes a reckless kid, and man can he get on our nerves. But he grew more likable and sympathetic in the second half of Season 4, thanks to his adorable bonding scenes with Michonne (Danai Gurira). She brings out the best in him, and vice versa, so ... we're not as anxious to see the back of Carl as we once were. Not that they'd ever kill him, even if we begged.

4. Carol
Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 14 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCIs there a more fascinating TWD character at this point than Carol? She's a survivor, as well as a ruthless, flawed woman who knows how to stand on her own. Carol will tell you how it is -- actually she'll just do whatever she wants, then tell you how it is. Who else could've told Lizzie to look at the flowers, then sat down and confessed to double murder to the guy who threatened to kill the person who committed the murders? Damn, Carol. Comic book Carol was very different (more like Season 1-2 Carol) and died a long time before this point, but the possibilities for TV Carol are almost endless. But it's also possible she's on a path to a major sacrifice. This new Carol is tough but not hard-hearted. She'd do anything for her TWD family, including giving her own life. But hopefully it doesn't happen anytime soon.

3. Daryl
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMCAs amazingly watchable as Daryl is, he's not the least expendable person on the show. Beth said he'd be the last man standing, but it would actually be a huge move for TWD to stop threatening to kill Daryl and actually do it. The earthquake it would set off as a story point and with the fans would be worth the massive rioting. If The Powers That Be want to prove that no one is safe, they'll give Daryl a dramatic death. Real fans would keep watching the show -- and even fans who'd threaten to stop watching wouldn't be able to resist watching to see what happened next.

2. Michonne
Michonne (Danai Gurira) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCMichonne is the most badass character of them all -- yes, including Daryl, Rick, and all the other alpha guys. She's the katana queen but also a real woman -- sexy, empathetic, and fiercely protective of her new cub, Carl. She'll always be a mother, and we can see her sacrificing herself to save Carl. But we could also see her slaying everyone in sight to save Carl. She is fierce. And as Richonne shippers, we're hoping she and Rick can combine superpowers and rule the zombie apocalypse. Or just make out. Either way -- major upgrade from Lori. Just sayin'.

1. Rick
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCThe man. The myth. The Ricktator. This is his show. Yeah, the producers say Rick could die at any time on the TV show or in the comics, but there's a reason Season 1 started with Rick in the hospital and has followed his movements and the people he comes across every step of the way. This is his story. If Rick dies, this is no longer "The Walking Dead" -- it's more like a spinoff show. We'd watch that show too, but TWD is the story of Rick Grimes trying to keep his family alive, and his humanity intact, at the end of the world.

There's no wrong way to eat a Reese's and no wrong way to rank TWD characters, but you probably have your own strong opinions on who belongs where. So go ahead and tell us your own "expendable" rankings!

Photos courtesy of AMC

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