A major character is leaving The Walking Dead.
The mid-season finale on Monday, Dec. 11, revealed the fate of one of the characters who has been on the show since the beginning: Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs). Rick Grimes' (Andrew Lincoln) teenage son was the hero of this week's episode after risking his own life to save everyone from Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
However, it was soon revealed that his death sentence was not delivered by Lucille, the villain's choice of weapon. By the last few minutes of Season 8 Episode 8, it was discovered that Carl was bitten by a zombie.
The moment that decided Carl's tragic fate did not happen in the previous episode. When he distracted Negan to give everyone else more time to enter the safe walls of Alexandria, he did not come face to face with a zombie.
Instead, it happened earlier in the season. Bloody Disgusting reported that Carl was bitten by a zombie when he saved Siddiq (Avi Nash) in Season 8 Episode 6. (Watch the scene below.)
Carl's death came as a surprise to fans of The Walking Dead. In the comics from which the television series was based, the character is very much alive and still causing trouble. In The Whisperer War, a major story arc in the comics, he fell in love with an outsider. Their relationship created a tension between the people of Alexandria and the group of survivors called the Whisperers.
Even Lincoln was surprised to hear that Carl was killed off too quickly. He told The Hollywood Reporter that he expected Rick's son to take over once he bows out of the show in the future.
"I always thought Carl was going to be the one who led the show forward; that Rick would hand over his boots and revolver when he walked off into the sunset in season 28," he stated.
Riggs' parting with AMC was not a mutual decision, however. In a now-deleted post, the actor's father, William Riggs, criticized the network as well as The Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple.
William revealed that his son was fired two weeks before his 18th birthday and after they were told that the young actor will be involved in the popular series for three more years. He added that Riggs was hurt by the decision.
— #TWD Fan Page (@FTWDFans) December 11, 2017
In an interview with EW, Riggs admitted that his character's death was a surprise. While there have been rumors about his exit for a while now, he was looking forward to exploring the storyline from the comics.
However, the 18-year-old has no bad blood with the people behind the show. The actor is looking forward to joining new projects.