The Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple has promised that the impending death of Carl Grimes will have a huge impact on the show moving forward. The Walking Dead's All Out War arc is set to continue soon, and the first order of business will surely be to pick up from the huge cliffhanger ending of the midseason finale in which Carl revealed to his Father and Michonne that he was suffering from a grisly zombie bite.
The revelation was, arguably, the most shocking element of season 8 thus far - aside from everyone apparently having worse aim than Stormtroopers - as Carl has been a mainstay on The Walking Dead since the very beginning. Furthermore, creator Robert Kirkman has labelled Carl his favorite character, and among all the tragedy, death, and trudging through forests, Carl was perhaps The Walking Dead's single biggest ray of hope, often acting as the show's moral compass.
As such, it perhaps shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that showrunner Scott M. Gimple believes Carl's death is going to have a sizeable impact on the future of The Walking Dead. Speaking to TVLine, Gimple states:
“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.”
Given Carl's prominence in The Walking Dead, as well as his importance to the story, many fans would have already presumed that his demise would have a seismic impact. After all, everything lead protagonist Rick does is for the protection of his son. And when he suffered a mental breakdown after Lori's death, the task of protecting Carl is what propelled Rick back to relative sanity. Quite how Alexandria's bearded leader will motivate himself going forward will surely be a key question in the second half of season 8.
Gimple's comments do, however, infer that it isn't just Carl's demise that will impact The Walking Dead but his desire to "change the world" in his final moments. While the meaning behind this statement is open to interpretation, perhaps the biggest way Carl's positivity and morality may impact The Walking Dead's future is in relation to Negan's fate. Whether or not Rick kills Negan before the conclusion of season 8 is a huge point of contention for the show. And although Rick is currently determined to end the villain for good, it makes sense that his son's desire to show mercy and act like better people would impact his decision.
The Walking Dead season 8 returns on February 25 with "Honor" on AMC.
Source: TV Line
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