SPOILERS AHEAD FOR LAST NIGHT’S “WALKING DEAD”
Following that shocking reveal at the end of last night’s episode, “The Walking Dead” goes on break over the holiday before Rick and Negan resume their fight in the mid-season premiere which screens in February.
Though there had been whispers, the end of Chandler Riggs’ Carl Grimes comes as a surprise considering the character’s long-term arc and the fact he’s still alive in the comics and a key part of several major upcoming storylines not yet adapted for the screen.
Now further details about the decision are emerging and it turns out the decision was one made by showrunner Scott Gimple for ‘story reasons’ as opposed to the actor wanting to leave. In fact Riggs’ father has vented his frustration on Facebook (via THR) saying:
“Watching Gimple fire my son two weeks before his 18th birthday after telling him they wanted him for the next three years was disappointing. I never trusted Gimple or AMC but Chandler did. I know how much it hurt him. But we do absolutely know how lucky we have been to be a part of it all and appreciate all the love from fans all these years!”
In the closing moments of the midseason finale, Carl revealed he had been bitten by a walker – but he did not die with Riggs’ final appearance to be in the season premiere in February. Speaking with THR, Riggs reveals how Gimple explained Carl’s exit to him:
“In the comics, Scott was trying to figure out why there was a hole between Rick slitting Negan’s throat at the end of the “All-Out War” arc and then there’s the time jump and Negan is alive and in prison and Rick didn’t kill Negan. Scott was trying to figure out how to bridge the gap between Rick not wanting to kill Negan and Rick also really wanting to kill Negan, which he does right now [in the show’s story].
Scott’s way to get around that was to make Carl this really humanitarian figure and person who could see the good in people and see that people can change and not everyone out there is bad. That’s what Carl’s talk to Rick was in this episode: there’s no way that they can kill every one of the Saviors and not everyone is a bad person and there has to be some way forward than just killing people.”
“The Walking Dead” returns in February, check out the trailer below for the new episodes.