During an appearance on Talking Dead, showrunner Scott Gimple confirmed that a major character will not survive to see the second half of season 8. With each new season of The Walking Dead comes the ever-present worry that one’s favorite characters may end up dead, whether at the hands of a human antagonist like Negan or at the gnashing teeth of a walker. Season 8 has already seen a few characters meet their maker, but none of those prior losses compare to the next one to come.
Near the end of The Walking Dead’s midseason finale, viewers were hit with a surprising twist. While doing his best to distract The Saviors so that his fellow Alexandrians could escape, Carl was bitten by a walker. While Carl (Chandler Riggs) began life on TWD as a tag-along kid who always seemed to both get in the adult characters’ way and cause his parents nothing but stress, he eventually matured into a full-on badass in his own right, capable of taking down the undead with the best of them.
On Talking Dead, Gimple confirmed that – no matter how much fans might not want it to happen – Carl will indeed die as a result of being bitten, and rise as a walker himself if not saved from that fate by a merciful decapitation or destruction of his brain. Gimple said the following: “The bite will play out as zombie bites do on the show.” Since Carl wasn’t bitten on a limb, there’s no hope of him being saved by a quick amputation. Rick Grimes’ son is a goner.
While The Walking Dead TV series has never been shy about deviating from its comic book source material, it’s safe to say that most fans would never have expected Carl to die. After all, he’s still alive as of the most recent issue of the TWD comic, and has become nearly as integral a character to the show as people like his dad Rick and fan favorites Daryl and Michonne.
Killing off Carl will no doubt mark a big dramatic turning point as TWD season 8 moves forward, and the battle between Rick’s combined forces and Negan’s Saviors continues. Rick damn near lost his mind when Lori died, so one can only imagine what kind of psychological effect losing Carl will have on the former cop. As seen before, a mentally unhinged Rick isn’t good for anyone.
The Walking Dead season 8 returns in 2018.