23 most shocking and devastating character deaths in 2023

As 2023 waves us a fond farewell, it's that time again to cozy up with a cup of your beverage of choice and reminisce about the year's cinematic and televisual rollercoasters.
The Last of Us. Photograph by Shane Harvey/HBO.
The Last of Us. Photograph by Shane Harvey/HBO. /
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Characters from the DC Universe

Much like The Last of Us, the DCU also gave a few characters to mourn this year.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure “THE FLASH,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy of /

9) Michael Keaton's Batman in The Flash

Michael Keaton's Batman in The Flash brought an unexpected and utterly heart-warming twist to the movie. All of us '80s and '90s kids lined right up to watch one of our favorite Batmans in action after years of not seeing him.

Imagine, if you will, the iconic, brooding figure of Batman, a character who has danced on the edge of darkness and light, suddenly facing his ultimate demise. It was a moment that hit me like a freight train of sadness. This wasn't just any Batman; this was Keaton's Batman, the one who redefined the caped crusader for a generation, bringing a unique blend of grit and charisma to the role. His end came not with a bang, but with an undoable, quiet resignation that spoke volumes about the sacrifices heroes make.

It was a scene that etched itself into my memories, leaving me with a blend of admiration and profound sadness. The way he accepted his fate, with a stoic yet deeply human grace, was a testament to Batman's enduring legacy. It was a goodbye that felt all too real, leaving a bittersweet echo in the hearts of fans, a reminder of the fleeting nature of heroism and the lasting impact of a truly legendary character.

10) Nora Allen in The Flash

The supermarket scene with Barry Allen's mom, Nora, in The Flash is one of the most painful goodbyes I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. My only slight regret is having allowed my daughters, who are six, to watch the entire movie without giving them any sort of heads-up on this scene in particular. They not only understood the entire movie's plot to a T, but they felt this scene. I ended up having to snuggle them both and tell them their mommy wasn't going anywhere anytime soon while they quite literally sobbed in my arms for a good 10 minutes.

I'll accept my Mother of the Year award now.

Barry, a guy who's all about speed and saving the day, finds out that the one person he can't save is his own mom. It's the kind of thing that makes you want to reach into the TV and give the guy a big hug. Barry not being able to undo his mother's death isn't just a plot twist; it's a gut punch that shapes who Barry becomes. It's heart-wrenching because she's his anchor, his home base, and when he learns he will never be able to save her, you can almost see a part of Barry disappear with her. It's not just sad, it's a freaking tragedy. It makes you wonder how different things could've been if she was still around. Barry's journey isn't just about being a superhero; it's about dealing with this massive loss and finding a way to keep running forward.

I'm going to call my mama now.

*sigh* I guess I'll go call my dad now too, actually.

(L to r) DAMIAN ALCAZAR as Alberto and ELPIDIA CARRILLO as Rocio in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action /

11) Alberto Reyes in Blue Beetle

As a Latina, Blue Beetle hit big notes for me. I love it very, very much, and felt really connected to the Reyes family — the way their family dynamic was represented was very much on par with what I'm used to. So, when it was time for Mr. Reyes to leave the Earthly realm, it felt extra real for me.

The passing of Jaime's dad, Alberto Reyes, in Blue Beetle was a moment that really tugged at the heartstrings. Alberto, who was always the rock for his family, especially for Jaime, left a void that was deeply felt. He wasn't just a dad; he was Jaime's mentor, friend, and the ultimate Latin parent — he always had a wise word or a warm hug ready to go.

The way he understood Jaime's struggles with his new powers as Blue Beetle and supported him without question showed the depth of his love and wisdom. His death hit hard because it wasn't just a loss for Jaime, but for everyone who saw a bit of their own dad in Alberto. The way in which he died was also so uncalled for. He survived a heart attack and survived an injury, only to succumb to a second and lethal heart attack while Kord's men tried to take the entire Reyes family into custody. It was one of those moments in the story where you have to pause, take a deep breath, and maybe even let out a tear or two before resuming the movie.