“CORRALLL” Grimes is one of most intriguing figures in both the television and comic series of The Walking Dead. After all, hitting puberty is difficult enough without the added pressure of a zombie apocalypse, but the youngster somehow makes it look effortless... mostly.
As the son of central protagonist Rick, Carl has experienced an incredible amount of character development over the course of the series and is one of the few remaining survivors of the original cast.
Over the course of the narrative, Carl has transformed from a relatively ordinary quiet child to a warrior who is able to overcome insurmountable odds. He even survived a bullet through the eye. All of this came at a price of course, and Carl has experienced a great deal of pain, loss, and death.
As one of The Walking Dead’s central figures, there are plenty of interesting facts and pieces of trivia surrounding Carl that many fans don't know. Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Carl Grimes!
15 The "Old Man Carl" Fan Theory
There are plenty of wacky fan theories surrounding The Walking Dead, but the biggest Carl-related theory is that the entire narrative is being told by him as a weathered, old man in the same vein as Wolverine in the Old Man Logan series.
In terms of hard evidence, the theory is somewhat lacking. It does, however, posit that the detail present in Carl’s storylines suggest that the narrative is from his point of view, and that Rick’s heroism is a result of the admiration Carl has for his father.
If true, the theory would ensure the show ends on a bittersweet note, with the joy of Carl’s survival balancing out the depressing fact everyone else has died.
Sure, it’s unlikely to happen, but it makes more sense than the theory claiming the zombie virus was caused by Walter White.
14 Carl kills Shane in the comics
One of the biggest moments in The Walking Dead is when Shane finally turns on Rick. However, the confrontation plays out differently in the TV and comic versions.
While the screen adaptation sees Rick kill Shane and then Carl finish off his reanimated corpse, the reverse occurs in the comics. Of course, this scene occurred before The Walking Dead had become a bona fide international smash hit, and it’s perhaps understandable that AMC would balk at the idea of a child killing his Dad’s former bestie in cold blood.
The comic version of events does help to establish Carl as a kid not to be messed with far more definitively than shooting zombified Shane does. It also gives an early indication that Carl is sometimes a better leader than his father, which is far more apparent in the comics.
13 He was nearly killed off in the prison arc
Carl Grimes is one of The Walking Dead’s most enduring figures, so it may come as a surprise to know that, at one point, the plan was to kill him off during the prison arc.
In the season three episode “Home”, David Morrissey’s Governor launches a surprise attack on Rick’s group at their prison home. The first victim of this assault is Axel, whose out-of-the-blue demise acts as the shock trigger for the battle to come.
According to executive producer Glen Mazzara however, an older draft of the episode saw Carl killed during this scene, rather than Axel.
While Carl’s death certainly would’ve packed more of a punch, it also would’ve fundamentally changed the feel of the show and would’ve had huge ramifications upon Rick.
12 He kills the comic equivalent of Lizzie
One of the most harrowing moments of the TV adaptation of The Walking Dead was when Carol put down psychotic pre-teen, Lizzie. Although this scene doesn’t occur in quite the same way on page, the characters of Lizzie and Mika are based on the duo of Ben and Billy from the comic series.
What TV-only fans may not know is that Carl actually plays the role of Carol in this story, and is responsible for killing one of the children after they both become murderous.
The event is highly traumatic for Carl, as he had been close friends with the twin brothers up until that point. However, he felt it necessary to take such drastic measures, since the adult characters were obviously uneasy about killing a child.
11 The 'Pudding' scene put Chandler Riggs off the stuff for life
In one of The Walking Dead’s infamous slower periods, Carl contemplates his post-prison life and wonders whether or not he’d be better off alone, after his father collapses due to a beating at the hands of the Governor.
During his travels, Carl finds a big tub of chocolate pudding and promptly tucks in. Although gobbling down copious amounts of dessert would be most young actors’ dream shoot, Chandler Riggs claimed that the initial excitement quickly faded as he was forced to repeatedly eat pudding take after take. He now says that, thanks to this experience, he can no longer eat pudding.
Though the scene may have taken its toll on the actor, the episode as a whole did serve to evolve Carl into a more rounded and mature character, and set him on the way to becoming the reliable survivor he is today.
10 He's the first comic character to kill a living human
One of the foremost criticisms leveled against season seven of The Walking Dead was that the zombies have largely become a background attraction in a battle between two groups of the living. But it hasn’t always been this way.
As a matter of fact, the first human-on-human death in the The Walking Dead comic series had a huge impact and this was partly due to the act being committed by a child.
When Carl kills Shane in the comic books, not only does it set Carl on the long path of becoming a prominent headstrong character, but it also marks the comics’ first instance of a living character killing a fellow survivor. Needless to say, it wouldn’t be the last. Not by a long shot.
9 He's Robert Kirkman's favorite character
The Walking Dead is stacked with interesting and fascinating characters but, out of them all, creator Robert Kirkman cites Carl as his favourite from the TV show. In a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session, Kirkman was asked which television incarnation of his various creations he loved the most, and the writer duly answered, “I don’t play favourites. They all die eventually... Carl.”
And the praise doesn’t end there. In another Reddit A.M.A. session, a fan asked which characters from the comic series were easiest or hardest to write. Kirkman simply answered, “Negan is a blast. Carl is fun.”
Despite creating a vast number of characters for the series, Rob evidently has a soft spot for Carl, and this may be an indication that the "Old Man Carl" theory may not be too far off the mark after all.
8 Andrea becomes his adoptive mother
Andrea was never the most likable character in the The Walking Dead TV show – which is what she deserves for shooting Daryl – but her comic counterpart was received far more warmly by fans, and, as a result, she survives much longer in the comic.
Comic Andrea also winds up in a relationship with Rick and, while some teenagers may resent their father landing a new lover, Carl fully supports the idea and even comes to refer to Andrea as his “mom.”
This would likely be inconceivable to anyone familiar with the television incarnation of Andrea, as she appears to have a strained relationship with the other survivors.
However, it’s also an indication of just how much Carl matures over the course of series, particularly after the post-Negan time skip.
7 Chandler Riggs' stunt double is a woman in her thirties
In film and television, it’s very common for stunt doubles to be of a completely different age and gender than the character they’re standing in for. Even by these standards however, the fact that Chandler Riggs’ double is a 31 year-old female stunt-woman is quite a shock.
In earlier seasons, Carl’s stand-in was 21 year-old Savana Jade Wehunt but once the Riggs hit puberty, a taller stunt double was needed, which resulted in Emily Brobst, the new replacement, being drafted in.
Despite being much older than the character, Emily Brobst is a dead ringer for Carl and, with her face partially obscured by the character’s famous cowboy hat, it’s impossible to tell the difference between Riggs and his double while watching the show in real-time.
6 Negan takes a real shine to him
In both versions of The Walking Dead, Carl stows away in a Savior truck in a misguided attempt to gun down Negan and ends up killing a handful of baddies in the process.
In the AMC adaptation, Negan takes Carl prisoner for a while before returning him to Rick. The villain is both friendly and menacing towards the youngster during his time at the Sanctuary.
In the comic books, however, Negan takes far more of a shine to Carl, and almost begins to mentor him after he sees the boy's potential to become a fellow psychopath. Even though Negan’s admiration for Carl is more apparent in the comics, neither incarnation of the boy is ever tempted to side with the villain, and, even though he may not always agree with his dad’s methods, Carl’s distaste for the Saviors is always clear.
5 Carl's T-Shirt is a nod to another Kirkman comic
In the first three seasons of The Walking Dead, Carl is mostly seen clad in a red and white Science Dog t-shirt, which features a logo comprised of a paw-print and series of atoms. This is actually a reference to the comic series Invincible, another creation of The Walking Dead mastermind Robert Kirkman.
Invincible is a superhero tale about a teenager called Mark who receives extraordinary powers, thanks to his alien father. In the story, Science Dog is Mark’s favorite comic book strip. So Carl Grimes’ t-shirt is actually a comic book reference to another comic book within a comic book.
The shirt isn’t The Walking Dead’s only nod towards Invincible. In season four's “30 Days Without An Accident”, Michonne gives Carl a stack of comics as a gift – with an issue of Invincible right on top.
4 He is close with Sophia in the comics
As The Walking Dead’s features a teenage lead, youthful crushes and tentative relationships are par for the course. However, the comic and television versions of the series take different approaches to Carl’s love life.
On screen, for example, Carl’s love interest is Enid, whereas on the page, he’s currently shacked up with ex-Whisperer Lydia. Perhaps the biggest difference in Carl’s relationships is his partnership with Carol’s daughter Sophia − the youngster dies very early on in the AMC show, but is currently still alive in the comic series.
With Sophia and Carl being the only two teenage characters from the first batch of survivors, Sophia quickly developed feelings for young Grimes and, despite Carl initially turning the young lady down, they eventually become boyfriend and girlfriend. As is typical of young romances, the relationship doesn't last, but it's evident that the duo still care deeply for each other, even if not in a romantic sense.
3 He only ever gets shot by accident
Gunfights are common in The Walking Dead and characters are at risk from a bullet as much as they are from a zombie bite. While most of the gun-related injuries are caused intentionally, Carl Grimes holds the dubious honor of being the only character to be shot accidentally... twice.
The first incident occurs in season two, as Carl is accidentally shot by lumbering Otis. Carl narrowly manages to survive thanks to the limited medical knowledge of Hershel Greene.
The second accident comes much later, when a horde of Walkers attacks Alexandria. Ron accidentally hits Carl while attempting to shoot Rick (in the comics, Carl is shot by Alexandria leader Douglas). Once again, Carl survives, but loses an eye in the ordeal.*
The fact that Carl has only ever been hit by accident could be considered a testament of his ability to survive. However, the fact that the youngster keeps finding himself in the line of fire may be cause for concern.
2 There is debate about his exact age
Although fans know roughly how old both the comic and television versions of Carl are supposed to be, there is some confusion as to the character’s exact age, especially since the comics’ time skip.
At the 2014 NYCC, Robert Kirkman claimed that Carl was “thirteen or so” after the Negan arc, but according to the timeline, he should have been eleven. Kirkman attempted to clarify his comments by stating that the skip was actually a little longer than the two years stated in the comics.
The waters are muddied further due to editor Sean Mackiewicz, who openly disagrees with Kirkman over Carl’s age. Mackiewicz stated that "so long as Carl never says how old he is post-time jump you can just ignore what we say.”
As far as the TV show is concerned, Carl is actually two years older than his comic counterpart at the outset of the series and, given how rapidly Chandler Riggs is growing and maturing, it’ll be interesting to see how the AMC adaptation handles the time skip.
1 Chandler Riggs' favorite Carl Walker kill is from "Internment"
Every fan of The Walking Dead has their favorite zombie kill, whether it be Eugene’s fire hose moment or the recent Michonne and Rick car stunt. Carl actor Chandler Riggs is no exception, and his favorite scene comes from season four's "Internment."
In the episode, Walkers penetrate the fences of the prison and father/son duo Rick and Carl are forced to gun down the ensuing undead with a pair of rifles. The scene is certainly compelling in that it depicts Carl attempting to prove to his Dad that he can be trusted with the rough stuff.
However, Riggs may have another reason for choosing this scene as his favorite: it was one of the first times the actor was legally allowed to handle a firearm on set under state laws.
The Walking Dead season eight is expected to premiere in October 2017.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about The Walking Dead's teenage lead, Carl? Let us know in the comments!