Is Carl Grimes alive? That is the question everyone is asking now that The Walking Dead Season 6 is back. When Ron yanked that gun out and started shooting, audiences were shocked, but never so much when as Carl’s eye took a bullet. Then Michonne topped it off by killing Ron, leaving Rick Grimes standing there with his fallen son.
— Hayley Dee (@ItsHayleyDee) February 15, 2016
NOOO CARL I AM BALLING MY EYES OUT!!( no pun intended) #twd
— Anna Martinetti ✼ (@martinetti_anna) February 15, 2016
To a certain extent, comic book fans were expecting The Walking Dead Season 6 to match this particular event, although there were some notable differences. The biggest was in the identity of the shooter and the motive behind the shooting. Deanna, who was known as Douglas Monroe in the comics, does go out in a blaze of glory before the walkers finish her off, but originally this character was attempting to protect people from the walkers when Carl is accidentally shot.
It could be argued that having Ron shoot Carl is a much better way to handle the scene. In fact, in the comic book version, the character Sam Anderson does not exist. Sam is essentially the substitute for Ron Anderson, who is much older in the TV version and thus more likely to have an adversarial relationship with the Grimes.
The episodes leading up to tonight set the stage for the shooting beautifully. The fact that Rick killed Ron’s father created a motive behind the shooting that slowly developed.
“Why’s your dad get to be good but my daddy is bad?” asked the young comic version of Ron when he confronted Carl about his father’s death.
Since Ron is older, it made sense for the TV version of Carl to give this response.
“I get it, my dad killed your dad,” Carl tells Ron at one point. “But you need to know something. Your dad was an a*****e.”
Comic fans even suspected the shooting might come earlier, with multiple scenes foreshadowing the event. Ron asking Rick to train him in shooting was just the start, never mind when it seemed like Ron was stalking Carl through Alexandria with a loaded gun. Still, it seemed like Ron was going to put his hatred behind him, but when Rick was forced to cut off Jessie’s arm, it made perfect sense that Ron would go berserk, grab a gun, and shoot at both Carl and Rick.
— #TWD Fan Page (@FTWDFans) February 15, 2016
What comes next is anyone’s guess considering that the show runners seem to love mixing up major plot points just enough to keep the TV version of The Walking Dead different from the comics. For those who have just seen the end of the new episode of The Walking Dead Season 6, it does appear that Carl is alive. There’s also plenty of evidence to suggest he will survive for most of the season since actor Chandler Riggs was seen sporting an eye patch when filming scenes set for future episode releases.
Probably due to all the Walking Dead spoilers which came out well in advance, the vast majority of fans believe Carl will live to fight walkers another day.
Will Carl survive?
— The Walking Dead (@twd_fan_page) February 15, 2016
The real question is whether the finale for The Walking Dead Season 6 will attempt to switch things up even more. It is suspected that Negan will make an appearance during the finale, which means at least one of the main characters is likely going to die. Everyone expects Glenn to meet Lucille like in the comics, but it is also possible that Daryl Dixon’s death is right around the corner. But what if Carl dies in a surprise twist?
Does Carl die? If so, spoil all you want. Please TELL ME HE DIES.
— TW // Ty Parker (@TyParkerS) February 15, 2016
— Tina Winsett (@tmwinsett) February 15, 2016
— Vikings on HISTORY (@HistoryVikings) February 15, 2016
So will Carl Grimes live and become like the character from the comic books? The Walking Dead episode 9 director Greg Nicotero gave Tech Insider a huge spoiler, indicating that Carl will indeed turn to the dark side.
“In the future, you know, Carl reveals, in the comic book, his wound to Negan and Negan and Carl sort of generate this weird friendship because Negan looks at him like, ‘Damn. You’ve been through a lot and you’re still here, kid,'” said Nicotero.
The director did make it clear he was only talking about the graphic novel version of the story, but it’s possible the TV version may reflect the comics once again. The mental damage caused by the eye wound goes way beyond the physical wound. The relationship between Carl and Rick becomes strained, with Negan even taking a liking to the boy due his fiery spirit. Negan even attempts to turn Carl into his second-in-command, even further damaging Carl’s relationship with his father.
As of this publishing, Carl is still alive in the graphic novels, although Robert Kirkman could change that status with a single page. Still, if the comics are anything to go by, then audiences can expect to see a scarred blacksmith try to make a living in the Hilltop Colony. There, Carl falls in love with Lydia of The Whisperers, but you have to wonder where that would leave Enid in the TV version?