*Spoiler Alert: This contains spoilers from season 1 to last night’s mid-season finale, and the graphic novels. Turn back now if you do NOT want to be spoiled*
When The Walking Dead returns on February 25th 2018, only two characters in the above picture will still be fighting the “good” fight in an effort to make it through another day in the zombie apocalypse. Last night saw the destruction of Alexandra in the “All Out War” season long arc that The Walking Dead has committed to dramatizing. To say fans are getting weary of the recycled themes of the eight season series is perhaps an understatement. However, Scott Gimple and company are going full steam ahead in stretching out the zombie drama for another 2+ seasons, and in order to keep things fresh and unpredictable the aforementioned showrunner decided to off a season one character.
To the surprise of everyone, and I mean everyone (we’ll get to that later) Chandler Riggs who plays Carl Grimes will no longer be on the show after February’s premiere. The final moments of the finale revealed that Carl suffered a zombie bite to the stomach (so no Hershel-esque life saving techniques here) that he actually received only two episodes ago when he helped Siddiq with those walkers. Apparently the timeline of the season has gotten the audience’s head turned around, and most were confused about just how and when the bite occurred.
When you look back at Carl’s action last night which were a little out of character you could see that he knew his fate and was attempting to tie up loose ends. This may be the most impactful death yet since Carl is still alive in the comics, and Rick tends to go into a catatonic or psychotic state of mind when his loved ones die. He turned his attention from defending the prison to focusing on farming and began to have hallucinations when Laurie died. He went into a feverish and closed off state when he thought Judith died. He’s never forgotten about Shane and I’m not convinced that he doesn’t feel some sort of guilt about how their relationship went down. Not to mention that it’s been mentioned multiple times that Judith is most likely Shane and Laurie’s child, and not Rick’s.
After last night’s episode aired there were multiple statements made by Gimple, Riggs, and even Riggs’ father who in a now deleted facebook post aired his anger about his son’s firing;
This does stink of another case of The Walking Dead jumping the shark, doing something for shock value. This is at least the second actor to be fired from the series after purchasing a home in Georgia. The first being Laurie Holden who played Laurie and met her premature end in season 3 while her character lived on for another 4 years in the comics. She too, was told that she would be there for the long haul. Apparently, Gimple started feeling the backlash or was at least prepared to deal with it this morning;
“I can’t really say what the giant impact is or how this changes the show because it does so in a huge way and it has everything to do with how the next half of the season plays out,” Gimple said. “It’s devastating for the characters and especially how we come to realize how it happened. It happened in a moment that was on screen. We didn’t see the absolute bite but we saw when it happened and we even saw Carl’s reaction to it after it happened in one of the episodes that we’ve seen this season.”
Chandler Riggs began the show at the young age of 10/11 and is now 18. During last year’s season 7 premiere many fans speculated that it was a real possibility that Carl Grimes would be at the receiving end of Lucille since the actor was college bound. From what we know he opted to take a gap year sometime this year to make acting a full time commitment. Gimple continues on the defensive;
“It has nothing to do with real life in any way. All the real-life things were of no concern,” Gimple said. “In fact, that’s the only thing that made it difficult — a real-life relationship with Chandler, how much we love to work with him and how talented he is. The story went in that direction. If people watch the whole season, they will see how incredibly critical it is to the telling of the story.”
The show has been steadily losing viewers and it’s obvious that the Negan storyline wasn’t executed in a way that pleased both casual viewers and die hard fans. It’s a shame to see Riggs go when he’s at an age now where he could have been given so much more to do, and what will this do to Rick and Michonne?
You can read Chandler Riggs’ exit interview here.
And let’s never forget….”Carl Poppa”
The Walking Dead Season 8 Returns February 25th along with That Hashtag Show’s Gaming Series, Dead of Winter.