Rest In Pieces: The best and biggest character deaths of 2015

2015 was a good year to die, but mainly because so often death didn’t take. Along with dead-is-dead attacks by werewolves, torn apart by walkers, transformed by white walkers, and death by memory dump, there were multiple exits this year in genre that ended up being “not dead yet” fake outs and misdirects.

Still, even if death doesn’t always last in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, the act of dying was pretty exceptional this year. So, to honor both the dead and temporarily deceased, we compiled a list of our favorite send-offs from 2015.

It should go without saying we’re heading into hardcore spoiler territory for several TV shows, movies, and comics, so only move forward if you have no hesitation of going where angels fear to tread. And after you read our fond farewells, let us know your favorite deaths of 2015 in the comments below.





Sembene - Penny Dreadful

“And Hell Itself My Only Foe”
Sembene (Danny Sapani) was a faithful friend to Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett), and was the first person Ethan ever told about his werewolf condition. When both men became trapped in a staircase during a full moon, Sembene allowed the inevitable to occur. Instead of letting Ethan commit suicide to protect himself, Sembene threw away the gun and let nature take its course. This was heart-wrenching because Sembene sacrificed himself for what he believed was part of God's plan. As one of Penny Dreadful's least developed characters, I never thought they'd kill him off without exploring his backstory. I have to admit, I felt robbed then, and I still feel robbed now. -- Krystal Clark

Zara - Jurassic World

OK, so she really didn’t care that much about Zach or Gray, and she was pretty connected to her phone, but did she deserve to die that bad? I mean, she got grabbed by a pteranodon, tossed upside down to another pterandon, dropped in the water to be grabbed in the mouth by yet another pterandon, and then eaten by the Mosasaurus. A pretty horrific way to die for someone who liked to check their emails, Zara’s death was the most gruesome in the film, and told the audience two things: first, this is a world in which anyone can die in an unfair and completely gruesome way and second, please, for everyone’s sake, stop constantly looking at your cell phone (even if you’re a driven career climber at the world’s best theme park, working for a top exec, and essentially put on babysitting duty). – Matt Dorville

Darkseid - Justice League #44

What does it take to kill a god? In Justice League #44, the Anti-Monitor (most famous as the big bad in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths) first turns The Flash into the Black Racer --  the avatar of death who, fittingly, no one can outrun. Then, the Anti-Monitor blasts Darkseid with the anti-life equation, the ultimate weapon (in mathematical form) that Darkseid has sought since he was created by Jack Kirby in 1970. The Flash/Black Racer finishes the job by plowing through Darkseid’s chest. So, in short, it has to be epic. This isn’t the first time the DC Universe’s ultimate embodiment of evil has been killed on the pages, and it probably won’t be the last. After all, his mantle has already been taken up by Lex Luthor, himself. We’ll find out when the “Darkseid War” storyline concludes in 2016.

Rachel - Childhood's End

The entirety of humanity is dead and gone, and the children have joined the Overmind, but one death in particular has a major impact on the viewer and the very last human: Milo. When Milo returns from 80 years of travel to the Overlords home world, he finds his girlfriend Rachel had died when the space station failed, killing everyone on board. The Overlords were nice enough to bring her now frozen body aboard for Milo to see. When he grabs the necklace from her, she shatters into a million pieces. It is a bit of a cheat given she died off screen, but since most of humanity died off screen, showing her falling apart was one of our picks for best deaths in 2015. -- Robert Prentice,

Cami - The Originals

For three seasons, The Originals steadily tip-toed around the sexual tension between Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Cami (Leah Pipes). In the midseason finale, the duo finally admitted their feelings to one another, and sealed it with a kiss. Unfortunately, the writers ended their romance as soon as it began. One minute, the couple's asleep in each other's arms, the next we see Klaus awaken to Cami's lifeless body. Her throat had been slit, and it all happened off screen! I'm not shocked The Originals had the guts to kill off a series regular; I'm shocked about the circumstances in which they did it. They hadn't been together five minutes before they pulled the plug. -- Krystal Clark

Paul Dierden - Orphan Black

“Certain Agony of the Battlefield”
In this episode, double agent abs of steel Paul Dierden (Dylan Bruce) discovered the truth about Project Castor, their disease, and Dr. Virginia Coady’s plan to weaponize the defect. Paul turned on Coady, then helped Sarah escape the compound before getting stabbed. In a shocking act of heroism, Paul blew himself up with a grenade to destroy Coady’s research, thus making amends for his part in monitoring Beth, the Castor clones, and manipulating Sarah. He was frigid, stoic and a duplicitous player in the first two seasons, but Paul slowly redeemed himself to viewers as the conspiracy grew deeper and his motives became clearer, as well as his true feelings for Sarah. – Ernie Estrella

Eddie Thawne - The Flash

“Fast Enough”
When it came to Team Flash, Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) was very much the odd man out. But I always assumed he would be the longstanding angst between Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton). It was established that Barry's archenemy Reverse-Flash's (Tom Cavanagh) real name was Eobard Thawne, and that he was a descendant of Eddie. During a heated battle between the two speedsters, Eddie shot himself in the chest. This saved The Flash's life and wiped Reverse-Flash from existence. Eddie's death was notable because he desperately wanted to be a hero. And he became one, just at the expense of his own life. -- Krystal Clark

Noah - The Walking Dead

Noah (Tyler James Williams) dreamt of new beginnings in Alexandria in “Spend,” after a reunion with his family failed. Instead, he suffered the most brutal death of Season 6. Glenn, Noah, and Nicholas were trapped in a three-part revolving door. Nicholas panicked and forced his way out, and left enough room for the walkers to pull Noah through, then pin him against the glass and proceed to rip him apart. It wasn’t enough to witness Noah bleeding through to his chest as walkers began devouring him from behind. The true terror came from Noah’s screaming mouth. First, filling with walker fingers fish-hooking in, then with the hemorrhaging blood. Glenn’s reactions mirrored our own as the death was especially painful in reflection, knowing that Beth’s death was ultimately meaningless, and it amplified a season-long death wish for Nicholas. – Ernie Estrella

Nux - Mad Max: Fury Road

While Tom Hardy's Max and Charlize Theron's Furiosa are the central focus of George Miller's post-apocalyptic masterpiece, a barely recognizable Nicholas Hoult has arguably the biggest character arc as Nux, a deranged and ill War Boy in the service of the brutal ruler Immortan Joe. Nux starts out as a near-savage, loyal only to Joe, but his love for one of Joe's "wives" leads him to re-evaluate his place in the world and help Max and Furiosa on their mission to save the women. He sacrifices himself to rescue Max, Furiosa, and the women, providing them with an escape and giving himself a poignant and redemptive death. – Don Kaye

Bing Bong - Inside Out

There may have been no passing more lump-in-the-throat-creating than that of Bing Bong (voiced by Richard Kind), the nearly forgotten imaginary friend who hides in the recesses of the mind of Riley Andersen. As Riley grows from infant to toddler to young adolescent, Bing Bong becomes merely a distant memory to her...but manages to help the emotions of Joy (Amy Poehler) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) find their way home while he, himself, is left behind for good. As Bing Bong finally fades away, we realize we are watching the end of a certain period in all our lives -- that happy, innocent, simple time known as childhood. – Don Kaye

Kilgrave's Dad - Jessica Jones

“AKA Smile”
The most gruesome death of the year didn’t come from Game of Thrones but instead from Jessica Jones. Everyone’s favorite son, Kilgrave, commanded his dad be completely wiped off the face of the earth. How would you go about doing that? Well, the extra-clever scientists that he commanded thought it meant that you should chop off parts of his body in sections and force them down the disposal (I still don’t know how they would have dealt with the torso). They got to the point of hacking off both his arms and one scientist was trying to put his weight into pushing the bloody limb down the disposal when Jessica comes in to stop him. Not exactly a wood chipper in Fargo, but still a pretty damn gruesome way to go. – Matt Dorville

Two - Dark Matter

“Episode Ten”
Dark Matter's most revealing deaths came from the airlock when Wexler spaced Two at the end of "Episode Ten," which was replayed, almost cruelly, at the beginning of Episode 11. Now, Two being a main character in a scifi show, we all knew this probably wasn't going to be the end of the Raza's de facto Captain, but it was gasp-worthy when she was sucked out into space. The major reveal here was learning that Two was a bioengineered synthetic human who was kept alive in the void by helpful nanites running through her made-to-order body. But the real takeaway from these events wasn't her unique physiological status; rather, it was her ruthlessness. In "Episode Eleven" when the tables were turned and she had Wexler in the airlock, she spaced him cold and dead while looking right into his soon-to-be-freeze-dried eyes. -- Tom Gardiner,

Rosalind Price - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

One of the most startling aspects of the third season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the quickly blooming romantic chemistry between Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Rosalind Price (Constance Zimmer), the no-nonsense head of the Advanced Threat Containment Unit. Their initial mistrust turned into attraction, showing us a whole new side of Coulson -- a side that was brutally crushed when Rosalind was killed in cold blood by Grant Ward (Brett Dalton). Coulson eventually returned the favor, although Ward's "death" didn't last long as his body was inhabited by the evil Inhuman entity from the portal planet. – Don Kaye

Meryn Trant - Game of Thrones

“Mother's Mercy”
Whenever characters in Game of Thrones go for the eyes, it's always pretty damn gruesome. After getting whipped by Meryn Trant, Arya reveals herself and takes her knife straight into his right eye, and then his left. She grabs a rag and forcibly gags him, viciously stabbing him repeatedly in chest as he screams and cries. He then withers, crying on his knees as Arya tells him the reason why she’s killing him while adding subsequent little stabs to him stomach and back before slowly slitting his throat, dropping him. Meryn Trant was one of the most hated characters in Game of Thrones. I mean, he beat and raped little girls, how do you get worse than that? And, Arya Stark is the perfect person in the story to make him pay in an insanely gruesome death that, well, shows you how far cable will go. – Matt Dorville

Kyoko & Nathan - Ex Machina

Alex Garland's brilliant sci-fi thriller reaches a nightmarish climax with not one, but two killings. First, Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the eccentric and possibly sociopathic inventor, smashes open the face of the robot housemaid Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno), killing her after she has just stuck a knife in his back. But then, the advanced AI known as Ava -- Nathan's ultimate creation -- finishes what Kyoko started by plunging the knife into her master's chest. Nathan's murder of Kyoko indicates his complete disregard for the new forms of life he has created, while his death at the hands of Ava is even more significant: the child killing the parent and ready to face the world on its own. – Don Kaye

Patti Levin - The Leftovers

“International Assassin”
Where Lost had Ben, The Leftovers has Patti Levin. Patti Levin, the mastermind leader of The Guilty Revenant, commanded attention whenever she was on screen. At the end of Season 1, Patti puts Kevin in a little bit of a jam by killing herself with a shard of glass to the throat. Fans mourned the loss of one of The Leftovers best characters but, never fear, Damon Lindelof, has her return in Season 2 as a ghost haunting Kevin as he tries to put together his life. Struggling to live with Patti always watch him, Kevin chooses to drink poison and go into Purgatory, itself, to find Patti, who is disguised as a little girl, and push her down a well. He then jumps down the well himself to forcibly drown her in the water. Some characters are so strong you have to kill them, and then go into the afterlife and drown them in a well as they pretend to be a little girl to make them go away. – Matt Dorville

Karsi - Game of Thrones

For me, it’s the moms that really affect me when they die and, for Game of Thrones, there was no greater bone-chilling moment than when Karsi died in the battle against the White Walkers. After giving her children over to Jon Snow to take over the wall, she is killed by walker children. Then, as Snow and the others float away on their boats, Karsi and all the dead around her rise up, with icy death in their eyes, now walkers, themselves. It is a powerful image as the children on the boat must have witnessed their mother becoming a White Walker in front of their eyes, and the great power of the walker army was fully realized. – Matt Dorville

Ben Urich - Daredevil

“The Ones We Leave Behind”
Ben Urich was set up to be an unkillable character in Daredevil. For fans of the comics, he was rooted throughout the New York City of the Marvel Universe. He is also an informant and confidant for Ol’ Hornhead. So, he seemed safe. Even within the Netflix show, Urich represented a guy from the old neighborhood, who understood how things worked and could be an important resource for the trio of Matt, Foggy, and Karen. Even when Wilson Fisk was found sitting in his Urich’s apartment in Episode 12, waiting for the New York Bulletin reporter to arrive, it appeared as if the unapologetic, bold journalist would survive – until he didn’t. The murder was visceral and ugly, and one of the hardest scenes to watch in the first season. It added an emotional gravity to the series, and elevated the already-intense threat of the Kingpin, as well as showed audiences that not even the core good guys were truly safe. Unfortunately, his death also robbed the show of the fine acting by Vondie Curtis-Hall, who also happened to be the only main character of color on the show. – Aaron Sagers

Shireen Baratheon - Game of Thrones

“The Dance of Dragons”
Shireen Baratheon was innocence personified, and she was ordered to burn by her father in front of her mother. Scarred by Greyscale, an affliction that typically means death, Shireen was saved by Stannis, who sent for healers from across the Narrow Sea to help and cure her. Shireen throughout the story is an example of kindness. She teaches Davos how to read, she’s loyal and giving to her father, and she turns away from violence, refusing to watch as Mance Rayder is murdered. Yet when the cold sets in, Melisandre tells Stannis that king’s blood must be shed if he hopes to take the North. His quest for power is so great that the innocent child burns in front of her mother and his soldiers, showing the horrible extent to which Stannis has gone and finally leading to his downfall. – Matt Dorville

Thanos - Secret Wars #8

One of the most diabolical villains in the Marvel Universe, Thanos reaches Doom in Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Wars, and tells him that he is not a good ruler. Thanos once ruled before with the Infinity Gauntlet, and explains to Doom what a real leader must do. Doom asks Thanos if he has the Infinity Gauntlet now, to which Thanos replies that he doesn't need it to defeat him. Turns out he definitely does, as Doom basically kills him, Mortal Kombat style. It is a hilarious encounter, when Thanos -- one of the greatest villains of all time -- is killed instantly without even a fight, showcasing God Doom’s power in the realm. It is also a perfect time for Black Panther to come into the battle with the Infinity Gauntlet. This was a highlight of the Secret Wars and one of the best comic moments of 2015. – Matt Dorville

Primrose Everdeen - Mockingjay, Part 2

Throughout The Hunger Games series, the unsentimental Katniss Everdeen had one soft spot: her young sister, Prim. When Prim was culled for the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteered in her place; her promise to win for Prim’s sake kept her motivated. As the series progressed, Prim remained Katniss’ one beacon of light. In Mockingjay, Part.2, Prim was killed by a bomb, courtesy of President Snow. But Katniss soon learns that her own President Coin arranged the bombing. With the only person she truly loved dead, Katniss patiently and inevitably took her revenge. Coin died by Katniss’ arrow. -- Carol Pinchefsky

Laura - The Wicked + The Divine #11

The original narrator of The Wicked + The Divine, Laura was a fangirl who was befriended by Lucifer, and became a guiding force for the Gods. She was the representation of the passionate fan that lifted up the Gods to a higher status and, in the biggest twist in the series, Ananke turns her into the God Persephone and promptly kills her and her entire family.  It is a moment that is punctuated by the song “Laura” by Bat for Lashes, which Gillen put in The Wicked + The Divine Spotify playlist. It's one of the most surprising and emotionally affecting deaths in the series, even more than when Lucifer died -- and exhibits the manipulative power of the great god Ananke. Her death was the biggest death in comics in 2015, and an incredibly strong decision by Gillen that became a definite turning point in the series. Oh, Laura, you’re more than a superstar...  -- Matt Dorville

Jon Snow - Game of Thrones

“Mother's Mercy”
It is remarkable that a character as heroic and upright as Jon Snow survived this long, since author George R.R. Martin seems to let no good deed go unpunished in his epic fantasy series. Song of Ice and Fire book readers have known since 2011 that Jon Snow is stabbed by his Night’s Watch brothers at the end of A Dance With Dragons, but that seemed less than convincing until we saw him in Game of Thrones’ fifth season finale bleeding out after suffering multiple wounds, Julius Caesar-style. At the same time, we’ve already seen the dead of Westeros walk again in one form or another. And that means every cast member who has had to walk a red carpet or promote their other work in a press junket has been asked the same question: “Is Jon Snow really dead?” We still don’t have a clear answer. For now, we’re marking the bastard son who became Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch as deceased. -- Denny Watkins

Clara Oswald - Doctor Who

“Face The Raven”
Before you cans say it, yes, this death counts. No matter what happens from here until eternity, the moment we saw at the end of “Face the Raven” stands as a fixed point in time. That's how Clara dies, and we saw it. End of story. On top of that, the death itself is a beautifully tragic moment, too. Clara taking on the Chronolock from Rigsy might seem brash and foolish (and it is both those things), but it's also incredibly brave. And that's just Clara all over, isn't it? No other companion has ever embraced what it is to run with (and be like) the Doctor quite like her. Even if you didn't love Clara, her quiet dignity as she walks out and accepts her own final moments is breath-taking. Like an immortal watching each star go out at the end of the universe, we watched Clara's final moments and they were sad and beautiful and perfect for her. -- Dany Roth

Glenn - The Walking Dead

“Thank You”
Perhaps no "death" was as divisive as when Glenn (Steven Yeun) seemingly met a grisly end trapped under the corpse of Nicholas as a horde of walkers piled on top of them. It seemed that there was no way out for Glenn, and his fate was left unclear for the next three episodes until it turned out that he had managed to survive, after all. This marked the first time that a major character seemed to die and didn't -- a huge departure for a show that had built a reputation for the shocking exits of important characters. Was this a cheat or a bait-and-switch for events to come? The jury is still out. – Don Kaye

Han Solo - Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

Whether you predicted it far in advance, just realized it when he stepped out onto that bridge of death, or never saw it coming, Han Solo’s death was not only the biggest pop culture demise of the year; it may have been the biggest of a generation – or two. But what made it work wasn’t just because the smuggler is perhaps the most beloved rogue of modern movies, but that his story arc in TFA was so great. Harrison Ford delivered his best performance in years, and gave us the Han we knew, though aged and more world-weary. He was so incredibly likable and true to character that it hurt all the more when his son, Ben “Kylo Ren” Solo, committed the ultimate betrayal and impaled him on that raggedy red lightsaber. The death also rivals Han’s “I know” as the character’s best emotional beat; instead of seeming angry or delivering a final piece of dialogue, he tears up and quietly strokes his son’s face one final time. Lastly, Han Solo’s death sets up the conflict of darkness being seduced by light, and reinforces the idea that this new chapter of Star Wars is primarily a story about the new characters. – Aaron Sagers

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