‘Modern Family’ plans to kill off a significant character this season: who will it be?

Sofia Vergara honored on The Hollywood Walk of Fame

I honestly haven’t watched Modern Family in years. I used to watch it and enjoy it for what it was: a charming, middle-of-the-road sitcom. It wasn’t the savior of network television, and it wasn’t the funniest thing on TV, but it was a lot better than its worst critics claimed. It launched Sofia Vergara into the stratosphere, fame-wise, and all of the adult actors got a big career-injection from the series. Modern Family is heading into its tenth season this year, and it will probably be the final season, because a lot of the actors’ contracts are up and few of the actors want to do it anymore. So… what will the tenth season bring? Death and mourning. YIKES.

Modern Family will return for its 10th season later this month, and the creators of ABC’s veteran family comedy are hoping that the laughs aren’t the only thing that draw tears from viewers. Yes, the grim reaper will visit the show in an episode airing in the first half of this season, co-creator Christopher Lloyd tells EW. “We’re handling some bigger life events in this season,” he says. “We do deal with a death, which is certainly a topic that families have to deal with, and on television, it’s not easy to do because that’s a heavy subject. But at the same time, it would seem unusual for a family not to go through it.”

Not surprisingly, Lloyd isn’t revealing who is headed six feet under — or if it’s one of the main family members — but he promises that he/she is a “significant character on the series” and the death “will be a moving event — and an event that has repercussions across several episodes.”

[From EW]

It’s like a terrible blind item. I agree that all families have to deal with death and grief and this “modern family” shouldn’t be any different, but also: it’s mainstream network television, and hopefully they won’t make it too depressing. The obvious suspect for “who will die” is Ed O’Neill’s patriarch, but that might be way too obvious. I doubt they would kill off Ty Burrell’s character or Julie Bowen’s character, just because… if they want to do more seasons, Ty and Julie will need to be front and center. I’m worried that they’ll kill off Jesse Tyler Ferguson or Eric Stonestreet’s characters, quite honestly.

Also, in this EW interview, Christopher Lloyd insists that there could be more Modern Family beyond this tenth season, saying partly “There’s goodwill on both sides to make it happen, but there’s also complicated matters that have to get worked through, and there’s a time constraint on it, because we can’t have it take too long.” Basically, he’s hopeful that everyone comes in to negotiate their contracts but if they don’t, he’s going to start killing them all off!

Cast of 'Modern Family'

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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53 Responses to “‘Modern Family’ plans to kill off a significant character this season: who will it be?”

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  1. Alissa says:

    I’m wondering if they framed it as a significant character and not a main cast member because they’re trying to get people to talk about it and watch, but it’s actually going to be someone like cams sister or something.

    • Cali says:

      I’m thinking the mom (Shelley Long). Or some other side character that isn’t often seen.

      • Nancypants says:

        I first thought of Shelly Long too. She’s not a likeable character and they aren’t going to off a kid or the dog…I don’t think.
        It might also be Phil’s dad or Cam’s sister.

      • Catfoodjunkie says:

        I agree. I thought DeeDee or Phil’s dad (can’t remember his name). They’ve already killed off his mom, so…..

      • BooRadley says:

        My first thought too when I read significant character. In that she is significant to the family but not to the cast

    • Dtab says:

      I have a feeling it will be STELLA the dog…..it wont be one of the main characters.

    • tassie says:

      Could be Pilar, Gloria’s mother. Elizabeth Pena died a few years ago. I don’t think they’ve addressed it on the show.

    • MoGrianach says:

      Yeah it won’t be anyone in the main cast but someone like Jay’s first wife could die and it still have significant effects to explore for the main cast.

  2. Memurs says:

    My vote is Shelley Long (is she still popping up on the show?) Death of mom/ex-wife who they all have a difficult relationship with can stir up emotions without it being a main cast member.

    • lolamd says:

      I thought the same thing too

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree. It’ll be her, or one of the spouses’ parents is my guess.

      I still watch it, but it’s the kind of thing I let build up on the DVR and binge while doing other stuff like laundry. It definitely has lost a lot of it’s original humor.

  3. Honeybadger says:

    I think it’ll be DeeDee. She pops up and creates havoc for everyone and then disappears. Her death would bring up a lot of unresolved feelings.

  4. Zan says:

    My guess is that DeDe may be the one to go. All sorts of complicated feelings there, and a “significant character”, but not one of the main characters.

  5. RBC says:

    Whatever character they kill off, I can see the actor still being employed on the show. They would have the deceased character speak to the camera and react to things the family members do in the aftermath of his or her death( OMG! I liked that coat why are they selling it on eBay )
    If it is Jesse or Eric showing the surviving spouse re enter the gay dating world while raising a precocious daughter would be funny.

  6. Nancy says:

    As with The Big Bang Theory, I don’t know who watches this show. I guess my fire stick has me spoiled to the max. I couldn’t listen to Sofia babbling on for more than a few minutes. Comments above are mentioning Shelly Long…..from Cheers?????

    • SamC says:

      Yes. She pops in the occasional episode playing Claire and Mitch’s mother.

    • AnnaKist says:

      Thank you, Nancy! I tried watching a few episodes when it first started airing down here (🇦🇺), but switched off pretty quickly, because Sofia Vergara’s shrieking voice made me want to rip out my ears with with the pliers. How has anyone been able to tolerate the sound of her for so long? Surely she doesn’t talk that way in real life! It might be over the top for the show, but it’s way, way too over the top. Horrible.

      • Nancy says:

        She talks the same way on red carpets. She is this tall, attractive women with a shrieking siren for a voice. You couldn’t pay me to watch/listen to an hour or half hour, however long it’s on, of this show. Fingernails on a chalkboard.

      • AnnaKist says:

        Really? Truly? Oh, dear. Poor, poor Mr Manganiello. 😢

      • ravynrobyn says:

        I’ve read that in her “real” life she speaks in a normal voice, no discernible accent. That makes it even harder for me to listen to her now.

        I really wish “Gloria” would die, but I doubt she will.

  7. Nikki says:

    It would be really morbid if they kill off Hayley, but I do understand that the actress is going through some health issues. My guess a non-major character…maybe PEPPER!!

  8. Smee says:

    The writing sucks on MF now. It used to be hilarious. I stopped watching it – they should not do another season. I also find it hard to look at the current version of Julie Bowen’s face – it looks so…tight. Dee Dee is probably the one who will go.

    • Betsy says:

      You reminded me that that’s why I quit watching – Julie Bowen’s immobilized and yanked face. It was hard to watch, so I quit.

  9. ItReallyIsYou,NotMe says:

    I still watch this show because I care about the characters, but it stopped being funny a long time ago. Caring about the characters is fading fast too. In later seasons, they have crammed too many plot lines into each episode, so they don’t have time to give any of the plot lines the attention they deserve. If the show goes on, maybe an hour format would do better? And yes, I think the death will be DeeDee or Phil’s father.

  10. Lascivious says:

    Ed O’Neill’s Imdb filmography says he’s working on a new series.

    • Scarlett says:

      No, don’t say it, don’t think it!! It cannot be Jay!! He reminds me of my dad so much and I already lost my dad. I know this is *just* a tv show, but the day they kill off Jay is the last day I will watch this show. No no no no nooo!!

  11. PerfectlyObsessed says:

    There is talk that Ty Burrell said in the past that he would be done after 10 seasons(I don’t care enough to try & see if he actually said anything like that), & that definitely would be a huge storyline if they killed off Phil. But I won’t be surprised if it’s DeeDee or Phil’s Dad. I think a lot of people think it will be Stella (Jay’s dog) though!

  12. dcfan says:

    I think its Stella, the dog.

  13. klutzy_girl says:

    I’m going with Mitch and Claire’s mom, tbh.

  14. Canadian says:

    It used to be so funny, but I found the racist humour about Asians and Indigenous people a turn off. Time for the show to end.

  15. Robyn says:

    Sarah Hyland (that’s the rumor anyway)

    • Nancy says:

      I looked that up and it appears to be true. She said it was a wrap on the last filming of the show (at least for me, she added) on her Instagram.

  16. scarlett says:


    Like most successful sitcoms, it’s outstayed its welcome by several years.

    The kids, who were so adorable when MF began, are adults now.

    Time to say goodbye.

  17. Jennjfer says:

    For some reason I think it’s going to be Cam’s sister and then they will adopt her baby. I hope it doesn’t go that dark, but that was my first thought since she’s not a main character, but has become more significant and they did have that storyline of Cam and Mitch wanting to adopt in a previous season.

  18. Susan says:

    It will be one of the grandparents — or perhaps one of their friends, like Pepper.
    Don’t kill Pepper!

  19. Karen says:

    Crying already thinking about it!

  20. What about that realtor guy Phil is always having problems with Gil Thorpe?Probably not,my best guess is Stella,De-De,Phil’s dad,or maybe Dylan?

  21. CuriousCole says:

    My first thought was Sarah Hyland. Not because I want her to go but hasn’t she been having a lot of serious medical issues lately? If she needs time to get healthier then Hayley being killed off makes sense.

  22. tuille says:

    Absolutely right! I cannot bear to hear Vergara in anything. Her voice is up there with Fran Drescher & Charo as audio torture. If I were a captive, I’d tell everything I ever knew after about 2 minutes of recorded non-stop Sofia V.
    If she talks like that irl, how did she ever get a second date?

  23. Caty says:

    I’ve always been slightly uncomfortable with the way the characters all play into tropes.

    When America Ferrera’s character on Superstore was pushed to use an offensively stereotypical accent, she said she couldn’t “Vegara it.”

    Sophia Vegara seems proud of her culture and heritage and comfortable with her authentic accent, but the character’s accent is exaggerated and played for laughs. There are arguments both for and against the Latina representation on the show, I just personally can’t engage with it.

  24. cf86713 says:

    FWIW this is going to be Modern Family’s last season they announced it a few months back.

    I think it will be Phil.

    Regardless I hope they wait till the series finale to do this.

  25. Falula says:

    I guess Dylan.

  26. Susan says:

    I don’t understand why death needs to be a part of the show. It’s a COMEDY and it’s funny and light and that’s why I love it. It has gotten less funny over the past few years as the kids grew up, little Joe grew up and it felt like they were reaching for laughs with some of the plots. If they kill off a main character I will probably stop watching. They have to know they will lose viewers if they kill off one of the main cast. That would be too much sadness to deal with. Especially “having repercussions over a few shows”. No thanks. I have enough depression in my life. I watch tv to get away and laugh. Side note: I must be one of the few who absolutely LOVE Gloria-she cracks me up. I love Sofia Vergara! I think she has great comedic timing and is a central part of the show. I have my DVR set and I guess we will all see. (I think it’s going to be Stella the dog!)