The Walking Dead actress Danai Gurira has revealed how deeply she was affected by the departure of Carl Grimes actor, Chandler Riggs. Robert Kirkman's zombie apocalypse drama resumes this month after a winter break and will immediately be tasked with addressing the fallout of last episode's dramatic reveal. After Rick's alliance took a heavy hit in their war against the Saviors, his son Carl revealed that he was suffering from a fatal zombie bite and was slowly dying. Although the moment of Carl's bite wasn't shown explicitly, it has since been confirmed that he suffered the wound during his attempt to get Siddiq safely back to Alexandria.
Character deaths are commonplace on The Walking Dead but Carl is arguably the most significant character to be written out of the show for a number of seasons, especially since the comic version of Rick's son remains integral to the overall story long after the "All Out War" arc ends. Producers have moved to reassure fans that Carl's death won't take The Walking Dead too far away from its source material but several of the show's cast, such as Daryl Dixon actor Norman Reedus, have spoken out claiming how sad they were to bid farewell to one of the TWD's original gang.
The actress behind Michonne, Danai Gurira, has now echoed Reedus' sentiments, explaining how she was almost as hurt as Michonne was over Carl's demise and the resulting exit of Chandler Riggs. Speaking with The Huffington Post, Gurira states:
“I got a little depressed for a while. Straight up. You’re in the story. You’re in it and you’re also in a family. It was hard... Carl and Chandler are a blessing to Michonne and to Danai, you know what I mean? I adore Chandler, and [for] Michonne, Carl is her healer. Everything she and Rick do is to protect Carl, so this is kind of the worst nightmare realized for him to reveal [the bite] at the end of the last episode... So, yeah, I was devastated. Michonne was devastated.”
Considering how frequently characters bite the dust on The Walking Dead, the reaction to Carl's death, both from fans and the cast, has been far stronger than usual - a reaction AMC was perhaps hoping for. While a large chunk of this can be attributed to Riggs' status as a veteran cast member, the pure shock value of the reveal is probably also a significant factor. Actors generally go into The Walking Dead knowing that their time is precious but many saw Carl as an immovable part of the story's future, Rick's overriding motivation and the show's primary source of hope.
With this in mind, the decision to kill off Carl has to be considered a huge risk for The Walking Dead and it'll be interesting to see how they adapt the character of Rick when virtually every action he has taken over the past seven and half seasons has been to protect his son. Some may argue that The Walking Dead needed to make bold changes due to a recent slump in ratings and increasingly divided critical reaction but whether or not giving Carl the chop was the correct response remains to be seen.
The Walking Dead season 8 premieres February 25th with 'Honor' on AMC.
Source: The Huffington Post