Warning: Spoilers galore from last night's midseason finale of The Walking Dead. Turn back now if you want to be spared.
Last night’s midseason finale of The Walking Dead delivered one of the most shocking moments in the history of the show when it was revealed that Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) had been bitten by a walker after pretty much saving the day.
The reveal was made even more shocking because Carl is still alive and kicking in Robert Kirkman’s comic book series, and many saw the younger Grimes replacing his father, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), as an eventual leader of our zombie apocalypse survivors.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Lincoln and showrunner Scott M. Gimple opened up about Carl's impending demise, with Lincoln saying that Carl’s eventual death is the biggest thing they’ve ever done on the series while Gimple confirmed that, yes, Carl is a goner.
“That is a bite on his side," Gimple said. "The bite is going to play out as we’ve seen bites play out, and it’s very important to Carl’s story and the entire story what happens in the next episode. So I’m just focused on the fact that Carl right now is alive and he has some business to attend to.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Riggs spoke out about his character's imminent death, revealing how shocked he was when he got the call telling him about the plot twist, as he elaborated on what may lie ahead for the show.
When asked how he thought Carl’s death would fundamentally change The Walking Dead, Riggs said, “I didn't know how it was going to pan out with Rick trying to move forward past this, because his whole reason that he was pushing forward was to protect Carl and to raise him and to have him follow in his footsteps and have Carl be the leader one day.”
And while he never thought Carl would ever die on the show, he believes Carl's death does serve a purpose in the story. "There’s still a little more left in Carl's story — in Episode 9 [the midseason premiere in 2018] — and that impacts Rick, Michonne, and everyone. Although Carl's story is coming to an end it's not over yet,” said the actor, who added that viewers will get to see "bits and pieces and memories of Carl throughout the second half."
In a separate interview with EW, Lincoln singled out the twist as an "extraordinary" decision on Gimple's part.
“With the repercussions of it and what it means to lose a boy — to lose this significant character from the comic books is an extraordinary call,” Lincoln said, adding that they could have played it safe and let Carl live and be the one to carry the show down the line.
“They didn’t do it. They shouldn’t. He’s the new hero, he’s the hope and the humanity, and everything left in this guy — and yet they took him down. The torch is the kid. They can’t pass the torch on to the kid. That’s the standard way to do it, and they’ve not done it.”
How do you guys think Carl's death will impact The Walking Dead moving forward?