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Who Dies In 'Modern Family'? The Co-Creator Says A "Significant" Character Is Killed Off

Broadcast comedies aren't best known for tackling the darker things in life. However, seeing as ABC experimented with such by putting the parents of black-ish through a brief separation last season, it looks like the network is running its other fictional families through the ringer. According to the co-creator of longtime ABC hit Modern Family, a "significant character" will die in its upcoming 10th season. There's no Phil Dunphy-approved dad joke to handle this news properly, so who dies in Modern Family?

Confirmed earlier this year as most likely being the comedy's last season, Season 10 of Modern Family premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 26, marking a milestone year that few other comedies are expected to reach in the current TV landscape. Co-creator Christopher Lloyd recently revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the creative team will shake up the show's structure this year, saying:

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.

Although he didn't spill about whether the dying character is a main family member, Lloyd said that the death will occur in the first half of the season and affect several episodes. OK, so we probably shouldn't just jump to the worst case scenario, but as Lloyd called the doomed character "significant," none of the Dunphys, Pritchetts, or Tucker-Pritchetts seem exactly safe.

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The most obvious guess is that patriarch Jay (Ed O'Neill) is the one to meet his end. He's getting up there in years, and his death would be a strong, symbolic theme for what may become the show's farewell season. But then again, it would be extremely depressing for Jay's extended clan and the actors themselves to reach the series finale without one of its core members. Please don't turn Gloria's screams for Jay into a cryfest, ABC.

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As Bustle points out, there are still other viable options of who is killed off and would stir up emotional plotlines. Phil's dad Frank could die, but providing even more complex feelings among the main characters would be the death of Claire and Mitchell's mom DeDe (Shelley Long). She has close-ish relationships with Mitch and Haley, but has always struggled in connecting with Claire and managing a healthy relationship with her ex Jay and his second wife Gloria. Yet, DeDe is definitely a strong enough character to send the characters into a complicated whirlwind for a few weeks without affecting the show's main cast.

Lloyd has also teased major life changes for specific characters, telling EW:

From our standpoint creatively we’ve gotten excited writing this season and changing the lives of the characters — some in a significant way — and it’s made us think, ‘Wow, there’s a lot to explore in the lives of these characters.’ They’re in many ways such different characters than they were five or 10 years ago when we started and they’re just as interesting and just as funny.

Whether or not this turns out to be the last season for the Modern Family gang, fans are definitely in for an emotionally notable year. Season 10 of Modern Family premieres at 9 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Sept. 26, on ABC.