Talking about toying with audiences’ emotions, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is teasing that Carl Grimes survival. He might not actually die.

As one of the original characters in both The Walking Dead‘s comic book and television worlds, fans were shocked to learn that Carl suffered a fatal walker bite at one point in the first-half of season 8 of AMC’s hit zombie drama. However, with Carl very much alive in the comics (currently on Issue #175), there are major questions over who will take over Carl’s storylines in The Walking Dead comics. AMC’s top brass have already promised that someone else will carry on Carl’s comic legacy, but Kirkman himself has a different option: What if he doesn’t die at all?

Related: Everyone Who Died (So Far) in The Walking Dead Season 8

Appearing at the Walker Stalker Cruise Q&A panel (via Comic Book), Kirkman toyed with the notion that Carl’s bite might not be as life-threatening as it looks:

“He’s not dead yet. He might not die. You never know. But I think if, were that to happen, I think that it would have some interesting ramifications on Rick, that I think would energize and really kind of set things in motion in a really interesting way leading to the resolution of All Out War in a way that will make for a very exciting back half to season 8, so I think it’s going to be really cool.”

The Walking Dead Season 8 How Its Gotta Be Carl The Walking Dead: Carl Might Not Die Teases Robert Kirkman

With the show currently on hiatus, fans are eagerly waiting for the return of the midseason premiere and to see Carl possibly shuffle off to an early grave in “The Last Stand.” And Chandler Riggs’ swansong is sure to induce lots of emotions. After all, Walking Dead‘s midseason premiere made its own director cry. But no matter what Kirkman is teasing, audiences will eventually need to cope with the fact that, no, Carl is not going to survive.

It simply wouldn’t make sense to retcon Carl’s impending death. Plus, Kirkman himself defended the decision to kill off Carl. That being said, Carl’s infection is possibly the most divisive choice the series has ever made. From Riggs’ father to hordes of angry fans, many have been outraged at showrunner Scott Gimple’s choice to ax the popular character. Some have even called for him to be fired (Gimple is being replaced for TWD season 9 anyway), but viewers would feel a little cheated if Carl lived to fight another day.

There were promises that Walking Dead‘s season 8 would thin the herd, but the shock departure of Rick’s only son was a major twist. Theorists had pitched Baby Judith as the one to say her goodbyes in the midseason finale, but it was all the more poignant that it was actually Carl. For years, people have been guessing that Riggs would carry on the show after the eventual time that Andrew Lincoln departs as Rick Grimes, but we’ll have to pin our hopes on someone new. While many would love to see Carl carry on wearing his signature sheriff’s hat and fight the good fight against the Saviors, we’re just going to have to get used to the fact that he may have only one episode left.

More: The Walking Dead: How THAT Death Compares To The Comics

The Walking Dead returns on Sunday, February 25, at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

Source: Robert Kirkman (via Comic Book)

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