EastEnders is killing off at least one character as the wedding of Whitney Dean and Callum Highway collides with Hunter Owen's escape from prison, leading to a tense siege in the Queen Vic that ends with a gunshot being fired on Thursday 5th September.
It's the climax to what is set to be a dramatic week in Walford that sees bride Whit discover her fiance's fling with Ben Mitchell, Bianca Jackson and Lisa Fowler making explosive returns and aforementioned killer teen Hunter seeking revenge on Jack Branning.
No one is safe, but we've whittled it down to the unlucky 13 who are most likely to find themselves in the firing line…
- EastEnders boss says Callum, Whitney and Ben plotline was changed radically
- EastEnders star Lucy Benjamin reveals Lisa clashes with Phil over Louise – “She causes lots of trouble”
- What’s Bianca’s big secret in EastEnders? Patsy Palmer promises answers as she returns to Walford
She's gone into tiger mum mode to smuggle homicidal son Hunter out of the country, which she soon regrets when he grabs a gun and storms into a Vic packed full of punters planning to celebrate Whit and Callum's wedding (which may or may not be happening, more of that in a moment). Tamzin Outhwaite has confirmed she's leaving this autumn so she's our first choice to take the bullet. Will her second stint as Mel end with a bang?
Also rumoured to be making a permanent exit is Hunter himself – Charlie Winter was written out months ago when his murder of sinister stepdad Ray was revealed, but his jailbreak storyline has seen him return to settle a score with another of his mum's ex-cop exes. Will someone overpower the unstable teenager, killing him in the process?
Hunky Jack is a marked man, and Hunter managed to bump off the last father figure he had it in for, so he should be worried. The prospective death might well be a total surprise to viewers, but don't forget the culprit could be someone we don't even know is leaving. If Jack's bumped off it would drive guilt-ridden Mel out of town and make an impact on the Branning clan.
There are numerous reasons for Halfway and Whitney's nuptials to end in disaster, not least of which is Callum's fling with Ben Mitchell being revealed to his bride just hours before they're due to tie the knot. Tuesday 3rd September's episode sees Whitney wobbling at the altar, but whether she forgives her fiancé or not the bride and groom end up back in the pub by the next episode which is when Hunter starts waving the gun around. Will army-trained Callum play the hero and end up dead, breaking Whitney and Ben's hearts?
Alternatively Walford's unluckiest woman could be the one who gets injured, possibly after Callum has decided to lock the closet door behind him and go public with Ben, only to realise how much he loves Ms Dean when she's left fighting for her life. Could the shooting be a plot ploy to keep #Ballum apart for longer?
The third member of this love triangle is surely on borrowed time after months of misdeeds and double crossing. Karma might be coming for Ben if he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Losing his son could push Phil back to the bottle – and it would be real vodka this time, not water.
B is back but not for long, and we've been told her brief return is the catalyst for a huge story for the permanent members of her on-screen family – does that mean the Walford icon has been brought home to die? Whitney, Sonia, Tiff, Robbie, Dot, Jack and Max would all get huge mileage from mourning their relative. Her dying words would have to be "Rickaaaaayyy", even though he's in in another country.
He's back and he's got beef with Ben, who framed him for the attack on Phil. Laying low so he and pregnant fiancée Louise can go on the run, Keanu finds time to confront his nemesis and share a fond farewell with little brother Keegan and ex-lover Sharon, also carrying his child. Killing off the father of the next generation of Mitchells would be bold and unexpected, and resolve the muscly mechanic's romantic dilemma once and for all, albeit drastically.
Maximum drama would be gleaned from preggers Lou, sneaking around the Square before taking off with Keanu to escape the Old Bill, taking a bullet, but would 'Enders really kill off a young pregnant woman? They did it with Abi Branning, who gave birth while in a coma having fallen off the Vic roof before her life support was eventually switched off. It's grim but not out of the question.
This seems highly unlikely as Kingpin Mitchell is the Terminator of soapland and cannot be killed. Stacey, Lisa, several bullets and a failing liver have already tried and failed.
One of the people to point a loaded pistol at the patriarch is his unstable ex, and Lou's mum, who is back and helping her daughter to escape while the big week plays out. The old animosity between Lisa and Phil quickly boils over, so what if he gets revenge 18 years after she shot him and returns the favour - with fatal results?
With the shooting taking place in the Queen Vic (where else?) let's not rule out the beloved landlord. Michael has been a bag of nerves lately, plagued by panic attacks and mental health worries. Could this be a sneaky way of teeing up a surprise exit for Danny Dyer? What if Mick plays the hero and leaps in to protect his punters as the shot is fired?
It would be the ultimate redemption if reformed bad boy Stu took a bullet for someone, especially if it was old mate Mick. With Mr Highway also heavily connected to the wedding drama through being Callum's big brother, he's our wildcard bet for the mystery fatality…
Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.