Despite the fact that news has broken a significant character will be killed off on Modern Family in the upcoming season, Sofía Vergara isn’t scared that her character will be getting the boot. Well, strike that — she isn’t scared of the Grim Reaper coming for her character, but she does have some funny ideas about how Gloria Delgado-Pritchett would get written off if her number were called.
On Tuesday, the entire original cast — Ed O’Neill, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez and, naturally, Vergara — appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. When DeGeneres inquired about which character might be on the chopping block, Vergara chimed in, “I didn’t get nervous when I heard somebody was.”
“You didn’t?” responded DeGeneres, sounding surprised. To which Vergara responded, “If I had heard somebody was going to get deported, then I would. It would either be Rico or me. I think Rico would go first."
DeGeneres, along with the rest of the Modern Family cast, couldn’t stay composed at Vergara’s on-point commentary, and they quickly all devolved into laughter.
And while such levity is always fun to watch, it doesn’t change the uncomfortable truth of what’s to come on this hit sitcom. After all, it was just last week that series cocreator Christopher Lloyd dropped the bomb someone on the show would soon cease to exist.
“We’re handling some bigger life events in this season. 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,” Lloyd explained to Entertainment Weekly.
Thus begins the mass speculation. Which Modern Family character is in danger of dying? Although Stonestreet quipped to DeGeneres that his screen partner, Ferguson, would be the one to go, the cast remains as clueless as the rest of us at this point.
If a primary character were going to die (and that’s a big if), the most obvious choice would be family patriarch Jay Pritchett. He is the oldest of the original characters, and there has been what you could consider slight foreshadowing — remember last season when he had a conversation with his son about death? Jay’s death would certainly create a ripple effect of grief in the family.
Having said that, would Modern Family really go with the most obvious choice? Or would they kill off a character we don’t expect for more of an emotional sucker punch? If such were the case, Claire Dunphy’s fate might be in limbo. In season four, she was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a rare condition in which an extra electrical pathway in your heart causes a rapid heartbeat. Although typically not serious, 10 to 30 percent of people who have the condition experience atrial fibrillation. Is it possible Claire could have a heart attack and die unexpectedly? Fans know she is tightly wound, so a stress-related health issue doesn’t seem too far-fetched.
As E! News pointed out, the “significant” death could also come by way of an important supporting character, such as Shelley Long or Fred Willard. It certainly makes sense since they play older characters, but we're still hooked on that "significant" part. Are they significant enough to make a serious impact for the rest of season 10? For now, we’ll just have to wait until Modern Family returns to ABC on Wednesday, Sept. 26 to see how things shake out.