‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8 Spoilers: Carl Has To Die So That Negan Can Live

Kevin WinterGetty Images

The Walking Dead’s mid-season finale shocked fans when Carl revealed that he had been bitten by a walker. It’s no secret that Carl (Chandler Riggs) will die when Season 8 of The Walking Dead returns later this month, but is there a good reason why producers decided to kill off Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) only living son?

Carl’s Death Is Imminent

According to Uproxx, there is almost no chance that Carl survives the bite and lives to see the rest of Season 8. Norman Reedus already bashed the decision to kill off Carl while Riggs himself talked about his displeasure with how things turned out.

So, we know that Carl will die, but it still isn’t clear why executive producer Scott Gimple and his team decided to end Carl’s story — until now. There is a strong possibility that Carl had to die so that Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) could live.

Carl Will Inspire Rick To Find Mercy Over Violence

As fans will recall, we saw a flash-forward at the beginning of the season that features an aged Rick and Carl happily living out their days after the war. Because of Carl’s death, we know that this was either a vision or dream, but we also know it will play heavily on Rick’s mind moving forward.

In addition to the flash-forward, the trailer for the mid-season premiere showed Carl writing in his notebook after returning to Alexandria. We don’t know what Carl is writing, but it could be a farewell note to his father and a few lessons he learned from Siddiq, including the saying, “My mercy prevails over my wrath.”

“[Carl] is the linchpin. It goes back to the flash-forward where my mercy prevails over my wrath,” Lincoln shared. “There is a balancing of the scales in Rick’s like that happens in the back eight episodes. A lot of it is because of what is said in episode 9, by his son.”

Will Rick Spare Negan’s Life?

Although Carl will supposedly die in the mid-season premiere, he will clearly have a huge impact on Rick’s future. In fact, there is a possibility that Carl’s words of wisdom will inspire Rick to spare Negan’s life, even after all the terrible things he has done to Rick’s group.

Riggs revealed that Gimple wanted to get Rick to a point where he could spare Negan and forgive him. The only way to accomplish this was through Carl, whose death will help Rick understand that there is good in everyone and that people can change.

This, of course, is a hard pill to swallow. Not only would most fans rather see Carl live and Negan die, but if Rick spares his life then we’ll never get revenge for Glenn and Abraham’s deaths last season. While it will be nice to see Rick’s humanity return, it won’t make it any easier seeing Carl go.

Season 8 of The Walking Dead returns on February 25 on AMC.