The Fictional Characters and TV Shows We Lost in 2022

The Fictional Characters and TV Shows We Lost in 2022

From Batgirl to The Walking Dead, from King Viserys to King T’Challa, we remember those who have passed…or been canceled.

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Image: Warner Bros, AMC, BBC, HBO

Death comes to us all, whether we’re real, fictional, or a TV series. When real people die it’s very sad, and don’t worry, we’ll be commemorating them soon. Today, we only want to mourn the characters and shows who didn’t manage to make it out of 2022. Many will be missed. We might be glad certain others finally found peace. (Looking at you, Walking Dead.) Either way, please honor those who have fallen in the way that best suits them: reading stuff on the internet.

Of course, beyond the loss of shows and movies cut down in their primes this year, we’re also taking a moment to remember some of the fictional characters whose exits hurt us the most this year, so... tread lightly!

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Batgirl

Batgirl

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Image: Warner Bros.

The most notable—and surprising—death of the year belongs to Barbara Gordon’s first solo movie, murdered at the hands of Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav shortly after the two companies merged. Although the film was nearly finished, according to directors Bilali Fallah and Adid El Arbi, Batgirl was destroyed to get a few bucks via a tax write-off. Zaslav’s new plan is to keep DC movies on the big screen and instead of tiny, streaming ones.

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King Viserys, House of the Dragon

King Viserys, House of the Dragon

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Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

Nice guys don’t do particularly well in Westeros. By virtue of being the king, Viserys (fantastically played by Paddy Considine) managed to keep his head on his shoulders and more or less kept the peace as well, even if his flesh was literally rotting off by the end. But by naming his daughter Rhaenyra his heir, then having a son, and muttering something easily misconstrued on his deathbed, he’s doomed the Seven Kingdoms to a brutal civil war of succession that’ll kick off in earnest when House of the Dragon returns in 2024.

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Paper Girls

Paper Girls

Paper Girls - Official Trailer | Prime Video

Any time a Brian K. Vaughn comic gets a live-action adaptation, it’s cause to celebrate; any time one gets canceled it’s cause to mourn. So take a moment to lament Prime Video’s decision to axe Paper Girls, a lovely, fascinating adventure about four paper-delivering teens in 1988 who get sent through time, meeting their past and future selves. The young cast was marvelous, but Jason Mantzoukas stole the show as the affable, murderous Grandfather, who led the organization determined to preserve the timeline at any cost.

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Maarva Andor, Andor

Maarva Andor, Andor

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Screenshot: Lucasfilm

When Cassian Andor’s adoptive mother Maarva died off-screen, we were truly flummoxed why legendary actor Fiona Shaw would have taken such a small, one-dimensional role. But when the season one finale arrived, we finally understood—only someone with Shaw’s level of talent could give Maarva’s unbelievably stirring, incendiary funeral speech, exhorting the people of Ferrix to rise up against the Empire. (If only she’d gotten to say “fuck.”)

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The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

Judith Grimes Tells Her Journey | The Walking Dead

Yes, yes, the 12-year-old zombie show was a zombie itself, lurching unsteadily through its middling last few seasons. And yes, despite the end of the main Walking Dead show, the franchise will rise from its grave through (at least) three sequel series. But for all its faults, TWD was a remarkable achievement—a series about zombies, based on a comic, that was at one time the most popular show on TV. Its massive success helped pave the way for so many of the other comic and genre shows we’ve enjoyed since The Walking Dead’s debut in 2010.

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Eddie Munson, Stranger Things

Eddie Munson, Stranger Things

Stranger Things 4 | Eddie Munson’s Upside Down Guitar Scene | Netflix

The surprise star of Stranger Things’ much improved fourth season broke the ’80s nerd stereotype with Joseph Quinn’s Eddie Munson, a cool-as-hell, metal-loving, Dungeons & Dragons-playing badass. And while the dumb-dumb adults of Hawkins assumed Eddie was a satanist murdering teens because of his dual interests, he saved them all by distracting the Upside Down’s demobats to allow Nancy, Steve, and Robin to sneak into the Creel House and attack Vecna. And most importantly, he died saving the town in the coolest way possible: while performing a blistering guitar solo.

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T’Challa and Ramonda, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

T’Challa and Ramonda, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

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Photo: Annette Brown/Marvel Studios

Wakanda Forever still seems like an impossible film to have made, even months after its release. Trying to balance a new story returning to one of Marvel’s most beloved movies and yet also handle the textual and meta-textual grief of the passing of Chadwick Boseman was a tumultuous prospect, but the Black Panther sequel put Boseman and T’Challa’s death at its heart to tell a cross-generational story about love and loss. If that wasn’t fitting enough, it twisted the emotional knife further for us and Shuri alike by giving Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda a shocking, beautiful exit too, as she sacrificed herself to save the young Riri Williams after Namor’s flooding of Birnin Zana.

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The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself

The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself

The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself | Official Trailer | Netflix

We weren’t surprised when this show got the axe—with little promotion from Netflix and no ads anywhere in the U.S., it seemed as if The Bastard Son was being treated like, well... a bastard son. The most frustrating parts of this cancelation are the fact that not only was this an incredible first season with a wonderfully acted and poignant script, but the setup for season two promised to deliver even more of everything we loved about season one. The finale, where all three main characters centered and confirmed their love for each other, was such a heartwarming way to end a season that included fratricide, torture, and flashbacks of indentured servitude that we were sure that despite all the odds, this show would get a return. Pour one out for the canon polyamorous ‘ship, Nabrilise (that’s Nathan/Gabriel/Annalise, for those of you not up on the terminology). We didn’t deserve you.

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10 / 26

Hemmer, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Hemmer, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Hemmers Death - Star Trek Strange New Worlds S01E09

Although the albino Aenar only appeared in six of the Star Trek series’ 10 episodes, Hemmer the engineer quickly became a fan favorite. Although the Aenar have traditionally been humorless, absolute pacifists, Hemmer (played by Bruce Horak) actively tried to preserve life even as he refused to fight and didn’t mind teasing new cadet Uhura into thinking she’d offended him. After getting infected with Gorn eggs, Hemmer sacrificed himself to keep the rest of the Enterprise crew safe. Strange New Worlds won’t be the same without him.

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Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow

Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow

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Image: The CW

Alas, Batgirl wasn’t the only chiropteran-inspired female hero not to survive 2022. The CW canceled Batwoman after its third season, which continued to struggle after star Ruby Rose left at the end of season one. But Batwoman’s loss doesn’t sting nearly as hard as the cancelation of our beloved Legends of Tomorrow. The band of time-traveling misfits who spent as much time screwing up the timeline as repairing had seven full seasons, but still feels like it was gone too soon.

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The 13th Doctor, Doctor Who

The 13th Doctor, Doctor Who

The Master’s Final Revenge | The Power of the Doctor | Doctor Who

This could easily be both a farewell to Chris Chibnall’s era of Doctor Who as it is a farewell to the 13th Doctor, but really, if “The Power of the Doctor” was both those things, only one of them is sad. Jodie Whittaker’s time as the Doctor went out in an overstuffed mess of a damp squib, and perhaps nothing sums up what an atrocious mess that it was that in an episode where the Doctor was already forcefully regenerated and degenerated, the thing that actually kills her in the end is a stray laser blast from an alien in one of the episode’s 78 sub plots pushed in her direction by the Master. All it does is... knock her over?

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Los Espookys

Los Espookys

Los Espookys | Andrés Won’t Stop Being Spooky | HBO Max

This one hurt because rarely do we see Latin American representation in a genre show that’s also a comedy. Created by Ana Frabega, Julio Torres, and Fred Armisen, it was a damn miracle of a show that really spoke to the weird horror-loving raza in ways we haven’t seen before. Like Scooby-Doo with a dash of Edgar Wright’s Spaced, and Ghostbusters before it, the misfit crew of Los Espookys endeared audiences to their misadventures as they started their business staging hauntings and that often would get more real than you would expect. We’re going to miss Renaldo, Úrsula, Tati, Andrés, and Tio Tico. We need more shows like this!

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The Mighty Thor, Thor: Love and Thunder

The Mighty Thor, Thor: Love and Thunder

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Screenshot: Marvel Studios

When director Taika Waititi asked Natalie Portman to return to the Thor franchise in Love and Thunder, there were likely two things that could have convinced her after the terrible Dark World. First, this time she could do some superhero-ing herself, wielding Mjolnir as the Mighty Thor, and second, her character, Jane Foster, would die of cancer like in the excellent Marvel comics that inspired the movie, ensuring she wouldn’t have to return. Unfortunately, the movie did not live up to those comics, turning Jane’s adventure into a farce, and a not particularly funny one at that. Goodbye, Mighty Thor. You deserved better.

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15 / 26

Westworld

Westworld

Westworld | Season 4 In The Weeks Ahead | HBO

Show creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Jay said they had a five-season plan for their acclaimed sci-fi series Westworld back in 2016, when the show first premiered. In October of this year, Nolan was still talking about his plans for a fifth and final season of the show. Then, of course, the HBO bloodbath began. The next month, Westworld’s fifth season was canceled, even though the cast would still need to be paid for the work they would have done. What’s worse is that now the company has removed Westworld from HBO Max, and plans to shop it to some other streaming service that runs ads. The only silver lining is that end of season four inadvertently made for a great series finale.

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16 / 26

Cad Bane, The Book of Boba Fett

Cad Bane, The Book of Boba Fett

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Screenshot: Lucasfilm

The Duros bounty hunter has had a long career in the Star Wars galaxy. He was operating back in the Clone Wars, tried to poach the clone Omega from the Bad Batch during the Empire, and was helping the rival Pyke syndicate on Tatooine when noted chump Boba Fett decided he wanted to get into the crime-lord business in The Book of Boba Fett. After negotiations between the two organizations fell through, Bane had Fett dead to rights on the streets of Mos Espa, only for Fett to awkwardly stab him through the chest with his Tusken gaderffii stick.

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17 / 26

Young Justice (Again)

Young Justice (Again)

Young Justice: Phantoms OP

The dismantling of various parts of Warner Bros in the wake of its merger with Discovery has been rough, to say the least, particularly on the animation front. Young Justice was far from the only WB animated series that got got this year, but its end after its pretty good fourth season really stung considering how long fans spent willing the series back into existence it was first canceled in 2013.

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Ricky “Jupe” Park, Nope

Ricky “Jupe” Park, Nope

Nope (2022) - The Star Lasso Experience Scene | Movieclips

Jordan Peele’s third theatrical film, Nope, opens on a random act of violence, a nightmare scenario in which a child watches his longtime friend and acting partner suddenly go berserk and viciously attack his TV parents, then becomes further traumatized when said friend is shot dead in front of him. That darkness haunts Jupe throughout the rest of his life, whether it’s through Saturday Night Live sketches or when you finally see the facade break as he recounts how he found himself focusing on a random upright shoe. For as much as Nope has been called an examination of how the Hollywood machinery consumes and spits up its talent, particularly those who are minorities, it’s equally a tragedy about how sometimes, kids learn the wrong lesson from a life-changing event. Confident that his previous offerings of horses mean he’s made a kinship with Jean Jacket, you can see the instant regret in his eyes before he and everyone else in the park become devoured in the film’s most gruesome scene. Rest in peace, you charming, naive dope.

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19 / 26

Locke & Key

Locke & Key

Locke & Key 3 | Final Season Trailer | Netflix

The creators behind Netflix’s adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez’s comic series knew going in that season three would be the end, so they had the luxury of planning a satisfying final adventure. We appreciate a good sense of closure, and the ending of Locke & Key, in which the magical keys were sent back to the dimension they originally came from (with one last whisper for the road), made things feel rather final—as did the show’s ultimate message about finding magic in the people you love, not chaotically enchanted objects.

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20 / 26

The Illuminati, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

The Illuminati, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

‘Illuminati’s Annihilation’ - Doctor Strange: In The Multiverse Of Madness (2022) | Movie Clip HD

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has never shoveled more Easter eggs together into one of its films than in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Bringing the Illuminati—a bunch of the multiverse’s smartest, most powerful, and ultimately ineffectual heroes—was a brazenly naked ploy to get nerds excited that must have been lost on so much of the mainstream movie-going public. But nerds were so excited they even cheered the return of Anson Mount as Black Bolt from the truly wretched Inhumans miniseries. Of course, Patrick Stewart’s guest appearance as Professor X got tongues wagging until the Scarlet Witch showed up and crushed everyone like they were eggs. Xavier. Black Bolt. Captain Carter. Captain Marvel (a different one). Mister Fantastic. Baron Mordo. Wanda cuts them all down (often literally) with relative ease, making it the movie’s most memorably murderous scene.

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21 / 26

Warrior Nun

Warrior Nun

Warrior Nun: Season 2 | Official Trailer | Netflix

Netflix is so willing to take a chance on TV series, but also so willing to pull the plug on those ordered series by the end of their second season unless they meet some kind of hidden metric. So pour out a cup of holy water (is that a sin?) for Ava the Warrior Nun, whose divine and unholy escapes were buried in the Netflix graveyard according to her faith.

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22 / 26

The Expanse

The Expanse

The Expanse Season 6 - Official Trailer | Prime Video

The beloved sci-fi series ended after its third season on Syfy, only to famously be brought back by Prime Video for three more rotations aboard the Rocinante. While season six was of the excellent quality fans had come to expect from the stellar series, it was way shorter than previous seasons—and it left some dangling plot threads we sure would’ve liked the chance to see resolved. Sure, you can feed your protomolecule hunger by reading all the books instead, but somewhere there’s a wormhole beyond which exists another world where The Expanse keeps getting renewed until it’s really, truly finished.

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Karis Nemik, Andor

Karis Nemik, Andor

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Image: Lucasfilm

Everyone knew Nemik was going to bite it on Andor from practically the moment he showed up, and even moreso when he started spouting theory at Cassian like a hopeful little rebellious fireband. The question was really more about how, as the heist on the Imperial payroll held on Aldhani gave plenty of chances for the young hero to get blasted away. And yet, he kept going, and going, and going as the tense mission progressed... until he didn’t. Just as Cassian and the surviving rebels blasted away to safety, the forces of fate and gravity aligned to send a massive pallet of credits flying into Nemik, crushing Star Wars’ premiere space socialist under the literal weight of capitalism. He got to live on long enough to guide Cassian’s control of their escape shuttle off-world, and lived on spiritually in the manifesto he had passed on to the would-be hero, but still, this one hurt. Looked like it hurt Nemik, too.

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Henry Cavill’s Superman

Henry Cavill’s Superman

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Image: Warner Bros.

What’s even left to say about this? Dwayne Johnson spent so much time fighting top Warner Bros. brass to allow Henry Cavill to re-don those blue tights and stop by as Superman to “reframe the structure of DC universe” or some such. His Man of Steel finally returned to movie screens when Black Adam premiered on October 21. On October 24, Cavill confirmed he’d be reprising the role again soon. On October 25, James Gunn and Peter Safran were put in charge of DC movie and TV entertainment. And on December 14, Gunn announced that Cavill’s days as Superman were done. Sorry, Henry. Whenever we think about Superman murdering thousands of people, we’ll always think of you.

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Dozens Upon Dozens of Maids, Akiba Maid War

Dozens Upon Dozens of Maids, Akiba Maid War

WHAT IN THE HELL DID I JUST WATCH!!.......

WARNING: This video has a ludicrous amount of violence in it. That’s because it’s part of an equally ludicrous anime series set among the maid cafés of Akihabara, Tokyo’s former “nerd mecca,” but back in 1999 when it was at its height. But in Akiba Maid War, these maids don’t just look cute and serve customers. They’re also basically rival yakuza gangs who solve most of their problems with bloodshed. Watching adorable anime girls gun each other down might be either horrifying or mesmerizing to you, or possibly both. But maid honor demands we recognize the fallen, whether they be friend or foe.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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