The show threw a huge curveball at viewers during the season 8 midseason finale.
When Scott Gimple and those working on 'The Walking Dead' made their decision to kill off Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) on the long-running AMC zombie apocalyptic drama, a very vocal portion of the fan base let their voices be heard. They weren't happy with the huge deviation from the Robert Kirkman comic book series, in which Carl is still alive, but they're going to have to deal with it if they want to continue watching the show.
Audiences have Chandler Riggs evolve as Carl Grimes on 'The Walking Dead'
Making its return this weekend for the final eight episodes that make up season 8, fans will see Carl's zombie bite to the abdomen eventually lead to his death, but just because his physical presence won't be a part of the series in the future doesn't mean that he won't have a larger impact overall.
In fact, Gimple promises that the story being told is one that will see Carl's work as a miniature version of his father, and a leader of his people, not go to waste.
Speaking with TVLine, the showrunner explained: "We were confident in the story, but it was very difficult to face. It was just hard, like, ‘Are we going to do this, or will there be another way?’ Looking at where the show is and where we wanted the story to go, Carl is trying to change the world even as he’s leaving it and that has an incredible amount of impact on everything going forward."
Exactly what that impact may be remains to be seen, but it's obvious that the death of Carl will have a huge and lasting impact on his loved ones, and the group of survivors he helped escape Alexandria when Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) led his band of Saviors to attack. The next few episodes of 'The Walking Dead' could actually turn out to be some of the most intriguing and compelling to-date.
'The Walking Dead' returns to AMC in the US on Sunday February 25, and to FOX in the UK on Monday February 26.