Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for The Walking Dead's midseason finale ahead
As revealed near the end of The Walking Dead season 8's midseason finale, Carl Grimes has been bitten by a walker, and it didn't take long for showrunner Scott Gimple to confirm on Talking Dead that Carl will die from his wound. It's a sad end to a character that progressed from annoying bratty kid who always found himself endangering others to expert one-eyed marksman who anyone would be glad to have on their side in a battle to the death.
While it's now unclear exactly when Carl's fateful bite occurred, at least he can rest easy knowing that he spent his final days among the living working to both protect those he loves and end Negan's reign of terror. One presumes Carl will get to pay a tearful goodbye to his dad Rick in TWD's midseason premiere episode, which is likely to air in February 2018. That said, one wonders if Rick will have it in him to do what's needed to prevent Carl's resurrection as a walker, or if he'll have to ask someone else to step in.
With Carl now a certified goner, actor Chandler Riggs is preparing to exit a role that will likely define his career long after Carl's final episode airs. While it's well-known that Riggs was recently accepted to college, it turns out that his educational prospects have nothing to do with him leaving The Walking Dead. As Riggs tells THR, leaving the series was not his decision.
"I'm taking a gap year right now to focus on acting for a while. Leaving Walking Dead wasn't my decision. It was all story related. It made sense story-wise for it to happen for Rick and Michonne and all the other characters."
Riggs says he was informed of Carl's death during production of season 8, episode 6, entitled 'The King, the Widow, and Rick.' Gimple personally took Riggs and his parents aside on set to let them know what was going to happen. Despite understanding Gimple's reasons for killing off Carl, Riggs was still devastated to learn that he would be leaving TWD, as the show has been such a huge part of his life so far. Now though, Riggs sees this as an opportunity to pursue other acting opportunities in Hollywood, and a chance to do new things that he didn't have the time to before.
While Riggs' final full episode as Carl will be the midseason premiere, he says that he'll continue to appear in bits and pieces throughout the second half of season 8, via flashbacks. To end his THR interview, Riggs shared the following message to his fans "Thank you to all the fans for giving me a job for eight years and for giving me this amazing experience and blessing me with this career and this chance at having so much opportunity." Carl's life might be ending, but Chandler Riggs' career may be just beginning.
The Walking Dead season 8 returns in 2018.