The Simpsons is a show that - for a comedy - takes death very, very seriously.
When Maude Flanders was killed off, the show went to great lengths to treat the subject with thought, compassion - and a continued focus on the widowed Ned's grief.
When Marcia Wallace died in real life, her long-standing cartoon counterpart Edna Krabappel also departed, accompanied by a number of sweet, touching goodbyes within the show.
So, when the series' showrunner Al Jean says they're going to kill someone off in the show's upcoming season premiere - and hints at who it is - he isn't likely to be kidding around.
Or clowning around, for that matter.
Speaking at a Television Critics Association panel on Sunday, Jean revealed that the title of the episode in question, in which a long-standing member of the cast will be killed off, will be 'A Clown in the Dumps'.
Which, seeing as the show has only one leading clown, seems to suggest one man in particular: fan favorite Krusty the Clown.
However, before fans of the Caesar of Seltzer get too upset - there are some other possibilities.
After all, Jean's last clue to the identity of the doomed character still leaves a few other possibilities open:
“The character that dies is portrayed by an actor who won an Emmy for playing that character. People who reported on it then reported we were killing an ‘iconic’ character; I’d like to say it’s a great character, but I never used the word ‘iconic.’ It’s a terrific character and it [happens in] our premiere this coming year.”
Which means there are three main candidates:
1. Krusty the Clown
The leading candidate - if only because he is in fact a clown, as referenced in the episode title. He also seems set to retire (again) in the upcoming season premiere, however. Dan Castellaneta, who voices Krusty, won one of his several Emmys for an episode heavily featuring Krusty, 'Today I Am a Clown'.
2. Rabbi Hyman Krustowski
Krusty's father Hyman Krustowski is another popular recurring character within the series - albeit one with far less widespread fame. Voiced by Jackie Mason, the character earned the veteran comic an Emmy for the episode 'Like Father, Like Clown'. If the character to be killed off really isn't 'iconic', this may well suggest a tragic fate for the rabbi.
3. Sideshow Bob
Another long-time fan favorite, Sideshow Bob has become one of The Simpsons' most popular recurring guest stars - and if Krusty was to be the one to die, his most likely assassin. Kelsey Grammer, who has voiced Bob throughout the series, won an Emmy for the episode 'The Italian Bob'.
Which one of the three will fail to make it through to the second episode of the show's 26th season, though - or if it'll be someone else entirely - remains to be seen.
The Simpsons will return on September 28, 2014.
What do you guys think? Which character will we see die in the upcoming season of The Simpsons?