Ever since the mid-season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead, fans have been in shock at the deviation from the comics. Episode 8 of Season 8 saw Carl (Chandler Riggs) reveal he had been bitten by a walker. Considering he was bitten on the torso, it seems confirmed that Carl will die when Season 8 returns on February 25.
This has been confirmed also by The Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple on Talking Dead. Although, later on, when he spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, Gimple was less concise about Carl dying, which got some fans wondering about Carl’s true fate.
“It’s all having to do with the greater story of the season. It will be very apparent, the relationship of this awful incident — this very intense story turn — to the greater story. I don’t even need to answer because I know as you’re watching it into the next half of the season that you’ll get it. It has everything to do with what happens throughout the rest of season eight.”
However, it does make narrative sense to have Carl killed in order to make events in the comics make more sense as they play out in the second half of Season 8. And, an interview Chandler Riggs also did with THR indicates that Carl certainly does die in Episode 9 of The Walking Dead Season 8.
Regardless, according to Forbes, some fans have been so irate at the huge story deviation that a petition has already been started to have Gimple fired from The Walking Dead because of his decision to have Carl killed.
Fans of the theory that Carl and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) are immune to the walker virus that plagues The Walking Dead, however, are convinced that Carl will survive this bite and take the show in an even bigger deviation from the comics to that of Carl dying.
While everyone in The Walking Dead is infected with the virus, and upon death will reanimate, some fans theorize that Rick and Carl react differently to the virus. Considering Rick survived being in a coma at the start of the outbreak, and then massive injuries sustained after a run in with the Governor (David Morrissey) in Season 4 of The Walking Dead, some wonder if Rick didn’t actually survive these events. Perhaps Rick died and reanimated like everyone else does but, thanks to his unique biological make up, his brain reanimated completely rather than partially, as was revealed the way the virus acted in the Season 1 finale of The Walking Dead.
Using this assumption, some fans have also extended this theory to cover Rick’s son, Carl. So far, in The Walking Dead, Carl has been shot twice and survived. But, what if he also died during these events and reanimated too? Well, viewers will just have to tune into the Season 8 return of The Walking Dead to find out the truth.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) January 11, 2018
Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly has released exclusive new images of Episode 9 of The Walking Dead Season 8, some of which show Rick, Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Carl.
The first image shows Rick and Michonne supporting Carl as they stagger through Alexandria. A blazing house is seen behind them.
The second image shows Carl on a stretcher. The group is still in the tunnels and Carl looks like he is certainly starting to show signs of infection from the walker bite at this point in time.
However, it is another image, one that shows Carl sitting in a room in Alexandria and writing, that has fans wondering. While it is likely this image is a flashback to Episode 8 where Carl was seen writing a letter to his father, fans wonder if maybe this seemingly decoy image is proof that Carl will survive. Alongside this image is a snippet of an interview with Chandler Riggs that some see as ambiguous.
“[Carl]’s definitely leaving behind a really long-lasting legacy which was the coolest part about playing those final moments — knowing that Carl was going to have such a lasting impact on the story.”
Alongside these images of Carl, EW also revealed new Season 8 images for other characters. You can view all the new images for the Season 8 return of The Walking Dead, via EW.
But, for fans who think Carl will survive Episode 9 of The Walking Dead Season 8, it will likely be a slow wait until the mid-season premiere to confirm — or disprove — this theory.
Season 8 of The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, February 25, 2018, at 9 p.m.