[Warning: The following post contains major spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 8 mid-season finale, “How It’s Gotta Be” and the February mid-season premiere.]
Ever since Chandler Riggs announced that he has been accepted into Alabama’s Auburn University, speculation has been rife that his The Walking Dead character, Carl Grimes, will soon get the ax so that the young actor can focus on college full time. As it is, Sunday’s mid-season finale finally put the rumors to rest when at the end of that depressing episode – in which the Saviors regained the upper hand – a downcast Carl reveals to Rick and Michonne that he has a walker bite on his torso, confirming his imminent death on the popular AMC zombie apocalypse series.
The revelation is nonetheless still shocking as Carl is one of the few remaining survivors from Season 1 and was expected to take over leadership responsibilities from Rick at Alexandria. Add to that, the character is still very much alive and well in the comic book. Then again, the TV show does not always adhere religiously to every event depicted in the comics, not even for the current “All Out War” story arc.
The fact remains that Carl’s death on the TV show is inevitable as the bite is in a part of the body that cannot be removed, but the mid-season finale will not be the last time we will see the fan favorite.
According to The Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple, Carl’s last moments will be played out in the series’ mid-season premiere in February 2018. Speaking on the AMC’s after-show Talking Dead, he explained that Carl still “has some business to attend to” in Season 8, Episode 9.
“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… I’d like to think that the things we see in the next episode are so important to his life and the other characters’ lives.”
On the same show, Riggs shared in a pre-recorded video message what Carl’s emotions were like during that big reveal.
“When Carl pulls up his shirt and pulls down his bandage to reveal the bite, it’s a huge moment for him, for Rick and Michonne, for everyone in the group. He’s definitely happy with the way things ended up, with him saving all of Alexandria and making sure everyone was alive, and it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens next.”
The actor, whom viewers have watched grew up on screen from ages 11 to 18, also told the Hollywood Reporter in an exclusive interview that it was not his decision to leave The Walking Dead, squashing long-time rumors that stated he opted to leave in order to focus on college.
“Leaving Walking Dead wasn’t my decision. It was all story related. It made sense story-wise for it to happen for Rick and Michonne and all the other characters. I didn’t expect for Carl to ever get killed off. But it serves a good purpose in the story.”
After the show aired stateside, Riggs sent out a tweet, thanking the show’s long-time fans saying, “Jokes aside, thank you. You’ll hear from me soon.”
you’ll hear from me soon.
— chandler riggs (@chandlerriggs) December 11, 2017
Last week, the 18-year-old, who has been DJ-ing around the country, collaborated with singer/songwriter Lolaby to release an original track entitled “Hold On” under the moniker Eclipse. It has also been confirmed that his post-Walking Dead work will be in the upcoming crime thriller, Inherit the Viper, co-starring Josh Hartnett.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Riggs’s TV dad Andrew Lincoln revealed what it was like watching Riggs grow up on set.
“It’s been one of the great gifts of my career to spend so much time with this young man and watch him develop. And also, he’s super smart, and he’s incredibly composed as a young man. I just think to be able to navigate the schooling years in the zombie apocalypse, it takes a big man, and they found him in Chandler Riggs.”
Carl Grimes’s story will come to a close when The Walking Dead returns to AMC with its mid-season premiere on February 25, 2018.