The front half of The Walking Dead season 8 ended with the promise of a major death, when Carl Grimes revealed an incurable walker bite on his midsection.
Skybound Entertainment, company behind Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic book, teased in their official mailbag there are “sad times” ahead in the second half of season 8.
“The back half of Season 8 will continue this season’s action theme while also mixing meaningful dialogue and new plot twists that push the story along,” Skybound’s Johnny O’Dell wrote in response to a fan who asked if the rest of the season will be “slow and very heavy on dialogue,” or if it will “speed up” the story.
“There may be sad times ahead – but fans are really going to enjoy the latter half of Season 8,” O’Dell wrote.
The decision to kill longtime survivor Carl was met with fan outrage.
According to Carl actor Chandler Riggs, the decision to kill Carl was handed down by showrunner Scott M. Gimple, who said “the bite is going to play out as we’ve seen bites play out.” Calling the wound a “one-way ticket,” Gimple explained there’s no way out: Carl will die.
Riggs said he “didn’t expect for Carl to ever get killed off” in a revealing interview, but added the teen’s death “serves a good purpose in the story.”
Carl’s looming death inspired fans to launch a petition calling for the reversal of the decision and for the ousting of showrunner Scott M. Gimple.
The character plays an important part in the comic book series, and Gimple plans on telling those stories — even without Carl.
“It just will have to be with different people and it’s a different way to tell those same stories,” Gimple explained. “But we hope to still fulfill what those stories do.”
Leading man Andrew Lincoln said Carl’s death is Rick Grimes’ “worst nightmare being realized.”
“The back half [of the season] is him trying to live through the unbelievable pain, in the middle of a war, and trying to reconcile this loss with what he’s fighting for,” Lincoln told EW.
Creator Robert Kirkman defended the decision to kill Carl, calling the mid-season premiere a “great tribute to Carl the character, and Chandler the actor.”
AMC recently debuted first-look images from episode 8×09, which will see Carl succumb to his walker bite.
The Walking Dead returns Sunday, February 25 on AMC.
The Walking Dead