SPOILER ALERT: Do not keep reading if you have not watched “The Walking Dead” Season 8 midseason finale.
“The Walking Dead” returns this Sunday with the Season 8 midseason premiere, which promises to resolve the fate of a major character who was on death’s door in the midseason finale.
Carl Grimes, played by Chandler Riggs, revealed at the end of the midseason finale that he was bitten by a walker. Unless some manner of zombie miracle occurs, Carl will be dead by the episode’s end. According to Scott Gimple, the soon-to-be former showrunner of “The Walking Dead,” Carl’s death is going to have a profound effect on the world of the show.
“It’s nuclear in how it affects the characters, how it affects the story, how it affects their world moving forward,” Gimple told Variety. “The death of this character, this young hero…it creates the last sort of conversation of who these people are going to be and how they’re going to move into the future. It might be very tragic. It might be very hopeful. It might be somewhere in between. Not all the characters are going to respond the same way, and the tragedy itself makes it very difficult to hear Carl’s words and to act on them in a way that he wants.”
While death is nothing new on “The Walking Dead” (it’s right there in the name, after all), Riggs’ exit is of particular significance given that he is one of the few actors left on the show who has been on board since Season 1.
“It couldn’t be more personal this time around because not only has he been there since the beginning, but he also grew up on the show,” Gimple said. “It’s incredibly difficult. ‘The Walking Dead’ is cursed, because it is a show that has some of the warmest, most professional, most giving actors I’ve ever seen share a soundstage together. Yet it is a show where people regularly die because that’s the world they inhabit.”
Yet while losing Riggs is not easy, Gimple insists that Carl’s death will be a major driving force for the rest of the show.
“This is one of the hardest deaths ever, but I believe this is a really important story with an important message,” he said. “It’s an unbelievable tragedy to see this character go, but his death is not the end of his story.”
“The Walking Dead” airs Sunday, Feb. 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.