Today we present the top 10 most shocking deaths in pop culture for 2013 from television, movies and comic books….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
As the end of the year approaches there are going to be plenty of ‘best of 2013’ lists out there. Hell, we’ve done a bunch of them already and more are coming. With that said one of the best lists I’ve seen this year (that’s been done by multiple sites mind you) is the most shocking deaths on television in 2013.
Now I could easily do my own list essentially jumbling up some of the numbers and telling you why this character’s death was more poignant than another’s. Instead, I’ve decided to combine all of the major mediums that we cover here at NerdcoreMovement.com and put them all into one list.
So what you’ll see today are the top 10 most shocking deaths in pop culture for 2013 — from television (granted that’s a bunch) to film to comic books. What 10 deaths impacted us the most this year and which ones did we not see coming at all? Check out our list below and see if we got them all right, wrong or even if we forgot somebody!
Needless to say massive spoilers lie ahead so readers be warned!
10. Matt Kowalski — Gravity (George Clooney)
All this guy wanted to do was to break the record for the most time spent on a space walk and it looks like he accomplished his goal although it’s the eternal kind of time limit because he’s dead now. Kowalski was the senior astronaut in the film ‘Gravity’ and he does everything in his power to ensure that Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) makes it out alive even if it means costing him his own life. Kowalski makes an improbable appearance late in the film, but as we find out he’s very much already dead and just a vision in Ryan’s head to help her get through the final moments before getting back home to Earth. Here’s to you Kowalski — wherever you’re floating around out there
9. Odin — Thor: The Dark World (Anthony Hopkins)
Now technically we don’t know for sure that Odin is dead, but considering Anthony Hopkins said in an interview that two times was enough for him playing the guy so in his mind he’s dead, we’re going to count that as he’s not coming back any time soon. The big death in Thor was supposed to be Loki after he redeemed himself while helping his brother battle against Malekith and his evil band of dark elves. Instead as we find out in the final reveal, Loki has taken Odin’s place and is now masquerading as his adopted father as the head of Asgard. My guess is the fan boys and girls in an uproar about Loki possibly dying saved his life, but as it turns out Odin wasn’t nearly as lucky (or beloved apparently).
8. Clay Morrow — Sons of Anarchy (Ron Perlman)
There was no way Clay was making it to the final reel on Sons of Anarchy and with the final season rapidly approaching we knew he was going to go eventually (thus taking some of the shock factor out of this one). Still, just when it looked like Clay was making a grand escape to the Emerald shores of Ireland, Jax turned the tables on him and shot him straight in the throat. A few more bullets followed and the stepfather from hell was dead. Creator Kurt Sutter said several times after Clay’s death was revealed that he knew the character was supposed to die on about ten different occasions but only when the audience didn’t see it coming was when he could finally go. Now he’s quite gone
7. Walter White — Breaking Bad (Bryan Cranston)
This one will surely irritate some hardcore Breaking Bad fans but follow with me why Walter White is No. 7 and not higher on the list. Remember we’re talking about most shocking deaths in pop culture and the fact is old Walt was riding out a death wish from the first season of the series. We didn’t know it would be a trunk mounted, Nazi killing machine gun that ultimately did him in, but Walter wasn’t making it out alive and anybody that didn’t believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. It was still a pretty epic ending with Walt taking out the entire Nazi crew while handing psychopathic Todd over to Jesse to whack before letting his former prodigy go. The sweet sounds of ‘Baby Blue’ washed over us as Walt shuffled off this mortal coil and we said goodbye to him for the last time this year.
6. Damian Wayne — Batman Inc.
At this point we’ve gone through a whole bunch of Robins in Batman folklore. From Dick Grayson to Jason Todd to Tim Drake and eventually to Damian Wayne. Robins are never meant to wear the mask and awful outfit for very long and at least fifty-percent of the time they get killed (ask Jason Todd about how that works). But this death was particularly important because Damian wasn’t just Robin — he was also Bruce Wayne’s son. He was killed by a villain named Heretic, who was an adult clone of Damian (go figure) and his passing struck Bruce/Batman to his very core. There were some beautifully crafted issues following Damian’s death in all of the Batman books called ‘Requiem’, the best of which was Batman & Robin No. 18, which portrays the hurt and loss suffered by Damian’s passing done solely through pictures and artwork without a single word being spoken throughout the entire issue. Art is always an important part of the comic book medium, but this issue brought it to a whole new level. Now as we all know no one ever stays dead in comic books so Damian will most certainly be back soon, but his death and subsequent memorial was a big event in 2013.
5. Hershel Greene — The Walking Dead (Scott Wilson)
Nobody is ever safe on The Walking Dead (except Rick Grimes and probably Carl) so no character dying should ever really shock you. But for the comic book readers the story line that played out during season 4 with The Governor coming straight at Rick’s survivors in the prison, loaded with a tank and everything, the stage was set for a pretty monumental showdown straight from the pages of Robert Kirkman’s long running comic series. The only problem was who was supposed to be a sacrificial lamb when Rick and his people refused to hand over their home to The Governor and his new group of people. In the comics, it’s Tyreese that loses his head to The Governor’s sociopathic ways, but in the TV show this season it was sweet, kindly Hershel that literally gets beheaded by a few swipes with a sword as his daughters look on from the prison yard. Considering everything that Hershel went through on the show already (losing a leg, family members, etc) it was a particularly brutal moment to see him die in such a heinous way but it was also a powerful reminder that in this world where the undead rule, no one is spared.
4. Hank Schrader — Breaking Bad (Dean Norris)
When it came to shocking deaths on Breaking Bad, this is the one that had everyone in tears and very few saw it coming the way that it happened. For five seasons, DEA agent Hank Schrader searched and searched for the master criminal meth kingpin known only as Heisenberg. It wasn’t until the start of the final year that Hank finally figured out that Heisenberg was none other than his brother-in-law Walter White. Hank did everything in his power to bring Walt down, and just when it appeared like he was having his crowning moment it all came crashing to a sudden halt. Hank’s phone call to Marie to tell her that he got Walt cold was chilling to say the least, but when Uncle Jack and his Nazi hit crew showed up to save Walt (despite his pleas to save his brother-in-law) Hank was a goner. He went out like a bad ass though telling Jack ‘My name is ASAC Schrader and you can go fuck yourself’. A gunshot later and Hank was gone and Walt’s entire empire crumbled down around him. Only a year after when Walt finally returned to close down the Nazi’s once and for all did he give up the location where Marie could find her fallen husband’s body to give him a proper burial. Still one of the saddest moments in TV this year.
3. General Zod — Man of Steel (Michael Shannon)
General Zod came to Earth seeking out one of his own, namely Kal-El aka Clark Kent aka Superman, after their home planet of Krypton was destroyed. What he found on Earth was a planet ripe for the picking that he could rule over with an iron fist given his new found powers thanks to the planet’s yellow sun. A back and forth battle ensued between Zod’s warriors and Superman, literally destroying almost every building in Metropolis (oops) but in the end it came down to a choice. Zod tells Superman that if he doesn’t kill him, then he will keep coming and coming and killing more and more humans. There was only one way to stop him and so Superman snaps Zod’s neck and then screams bloody murder after realizing what he had just done. The death was met with a huge backlash of life long Superman fans who said he would never kill and that’s completely against the entire nature of that character. Personally, I felt Superman killing Zod set the stage for who he would become — basically learning from that moment how horrible it was to take a life and then vowing to never, ever do it again at any cost. Maybe it was lost on some others but that’s what I took it as and any time Superman offs somebody, it’s big news. So Zod’s death lands at No. 3 for the year.
2. The Red Wedding (Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark, Talisa Stark, and a whole bunch more) — Game of Thrones
If you were a reader of George R.R. Martin’s novels then you already knew The Red Wedding was coming in season 3 of the television show, but the reason why this event was so monumental and shocking was how it all played out so brutally on our TV screens a few months ago. From the first chords of ‘The Rains of Castamere’ this turned into the worst wedding witnessed since all of the god awful royal weddings we still endure out of England. The most horrific moment had to be watching young Talisa Stark — pregnant with little Ned Stark in her belly — get stabbed repeatedly in the stomach by the Frey’s as the massacre of the Starks started. The petrified look on Robb Stark’s face told the entire story. A few moments later Roose Bolton lets Robb in on the secret
“The Lannisters send their regards”
And with another thrust of his knife, the Young Wolf falls dead. His mother Catelyn begs for her boy to be spared but alas Walder Frey isn’t listening. Even when she cuts the throat of his latest wife, he doesn’t shake one bit. A guard quickly approaches Catelyn, pulls her head back and slits her throat as she finally just gives up after watching her entire family get slaughtered before her eyes. There was no shaking this scene for at least a week after you watched it and I guarantee when the DVD/blu-ray comes out in 2014, the scene will heat up again as others begin witnessing it for the first time. Shocking, brutal and bloody. That is the Red Wedding.
1. Tara Knowles-Teller — Sons of Anarchy (Maggie Siff)
Some would argue that there wasn’t a more shocking moment on TV this year than the Red Wedding, but I would take them to task every time especially when comparing it to the sad final moments on Sons of Anarchy this season as we said goodbye to Dr. Tara Knowles. In Kurt Sutter’s ‘Hamlet on Harleys’ tale, Tara was Ophelia and if you’ve ever read that particular play from Shakespeare you already know that she dies but the circumstances surrounding her death were always in question and it sparked major emotion in the final acts of the play.
So much like Clay dying, it’s not a shock that Tara eventually had to go, but this one threw everybody for a loop, especially with how grotesquely it all went down. Moments after Tara found out that she would be able to raise her boys free and clear of the violence and bad blood surrounding her husband Jax and the Sons of Anarchy, she arrived back home with a smile on her face and sense of relief for the first time all season. It was short lived, however, as a moment later she came face to face with Jax’s mother Gemma, who believed she had turned rat and was testifying against her son in court thus sending him to prison. A fight broke out and a moment later, Gemma was drowning Tara in a sink full of dirty dish water before grabbing a sharp, carving fork and stabbing her repeatedly in the back of the head.
Jax arrives at the house later and sees his fallen bride dead on the floor and as he caresses her head, we were all left with the profound misery and sadness that he felt at that very moment. In a world full of outlaws it’s not supposed to be the innocent ones that are cut down, but Tara didn’t make it out alive and it was a particularly harsh, vicious way for her to go.
So there you have it folks the top 10 most shocking deaths in pop culture in 2013. How did we do? Did we miss anyone? Did we have anything out of order? Leave your comments below for us and give your thoughts!