Modern Family co-creator Christopher Lloyd told Entertainment Weekly earlier this month that a "significant character" on the ABC comedy series will die this season.
“We’re handling some bigger life events in this season,” he explained. “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.”
While Lloyd didn’t offer any more hints as to the identity of the character, he shared that their death “will be a moving event … that has repercussions across several episodes.”
A "significant character" whose death will be "a moving event" and whose absense will have "repercussions across several episodes?" Assuming Modern Family wouldn't cut one of its core characters, that would mean extended family could have the most to lose.
DeDe is probably the most at risk. The ex-wife of Jay (Ed O'Neill) and mother of Claire (Julie Bowen) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), she has the biggest ties to key players on the show without being a main character herself — having recurred on the show for all nine seasons. Would Jay start worrying about his own mortality and regretting their often tense relationship? How would Claire and Mitchell handle losing their mom, especially seeing as both are parents of their own? And what effect would the loss have on her grandkids?
Similar to DeDe, the death of Frank would be devistating for his son, Phil (Ty Burrell), since the two of them are tight as could be. It could bond Phil closer to Jay, though, giving him that father/son bond he's always wanted. And it would give Phil's three kids — Haley (Sarah Hyland), Alex (Ariel Winter) and Luke (Nolan Gould) — arcs of their own.
And while we're talking parents, how about Javier — the biological father of Manny (Rico Rodriguez) and ex-husband of Gloria (Sofía Vergara)? He's hasn't been the best father to Manny, and his death could put the teenager — who graduated high school this past year — in a place to tackle some tough emotions. Plus, how would Gloria react?
He's the first man that Hayley (Sarah Hyland) ever loved. And though she and Andy are no longer together — with him accepting a new job iand moving to Utah — killing off his character would give Hayley a heavy dose of reality.