Carl Grimes' death came as a shock and surprise not just to fans but to the cast as well. No one saw his death coming since it was kept a secret and out of the script.
Cast and crew bid goodbye to Carl Grimes or to actor Chandler Riggs, for that matter, in The Walking Dead Season 8 episode 9, "Honor." Carl died from a fatal walker bite. The wound's location on his body made it impossible to amputate the infected part. Carl got bit on the chest so he had no choice but to shoot himself.
The character's death caught everyone by surprise because they did not see it coming. Understandably so, because no one saw the moment when Carl was bitten. That scene was kept a secret from the script or even on television for a time. It was only shown until after Carl revealed his zombie bite to his father Rick and his mother-figure Michonne.
Talking about the tragic scene ahead of his last appearance in The Walking Dead, Riggs explained how showrunner Scott Gimple and the creative team kept Carl's bite a secret.
"Nobody knew it at the time, because it didn't explicitly say it in the script that I got bit. So it was really just kind of like me and a few crew members," Riggs revealed in a press conference call ahead of the midseason premiere.
"It was kinda weird filming that scene. But I'm definitely happy with how it all turned out," the 18-year-old added.
The scene in question took place in Season 8 episode 6, "The King, The Widow, and Rick." It happened back in Alexandria when Carl was out in the woods trying to guide new survivor Siddiq and a small group of zombies attacked them. No one knew where he got bit until the midseason finale (see video below).
Carl eventually revealed his walker bite in The Walking Dead Season 8 episode 8, "How's It Gotta Be." By this time he was already getting weaker and there was nothing anyone can do to heal him.
Asked as to why Carl had to die in The Walking Dead unlike in the original source material, Gimple said it was done to avoid viewers from already knowing what would happen in the show.
"We wanted to tell a version of the comic story that kept emotions similar to what you'd get when reading the [source material] but in different ways, so that the comic-book-reading audience didn't expect what was going to happen ... Carl's death fell into that [category]," Gimple said.