Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers from The Walking Dead Season 8 fall finale. Proceed only if you have watched the episode,”How It’s Gotta Be.”
The Walking Dead Season 8’s fall finale may have just brought a big shocker to fans. Chandler Riggs, who has played Carl Grimes, Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) son in the apocalypse-themed series, has been bitten by a walker. Anyone who’s been a fan of the series or franchise knows so well how this would end. Expectedly, fans are heartbroken about this big reveal but if there’s one person who’s also more than shocked, it’s Andrew Lincoln.
Unless an amputation of a limb is performed, there’s no chance for a character to survive a zombie bite. But for Carl’s case, this is not an option. Carl is good as dead because he was bitten by a walker on his midsection after shooting one on the head while fighting off a horde with Saddiq (Avi Nash). There’s no chance Rick’s son is going to survive and shortly after the episode, showrunner Scott Gimple confirmed that it’s Carl’s fate to die. For Lincoln, this shocker is the “hardest” for him.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lincoln shared how he felt about Riggs’ character written off the AMC series and what it would mean for his character when The Walking Dead Season 8 returns. The actor said Scott Gimple, who regularly calls cast members, called to share the news that he would surely be upset about. Lincoln took a guess as to who would go and he never got it right. He didn’t expect that Riggs will be the one to leave the show since he thought that his onscreen son would be the “future” who will make it through to the apocalypse.
After having received the news, Lincoln said he went silent for a moment and Gimple thought he had lost him over the phone. He just didn’t know how to react.
“I never saw it coming because I always thought that the kid would be the future, and that was the whole point of this — that I was going to hand over the revolver and let him walk off into the distance, you know? So it was incredibly shocking. Everybody was reeling from it and continue to reel from it.”
Understandably, Lincoln would feel heartbroken about Chandler Riggs’ exit from The Walking Dead. After all, Riggs grew up with the core cast and Lincoln is one of the people who saw him develop as an actor. When asked what it feels like having to work with Riggs, who was only 10 when he got the part of Carl, Lincoln described it to be a “gift.”
“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’s death on screen has yet to be resolved when The Walking Dead Season 8 returns. It remains to be seen how Rick will change moving forward, but it is expected that Carl’s death will have a profound effect on him. Rick already lost his wife, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), in Season 3 and now, he’s about to lose the son who’s been with him from the start.
Rick might still have Judith, but fans speculate that he’ll turn into “old man Rick” as seen in “flash-forward” scenes. Lincoln has been reserved when it comes to details on how the show will find resolution after Carl’s death. Fans will just have to wait to find out what happens on The Walking Dead Season 8 midseason premiere, which will be in Feb. 2018.