As AMC's The Walking Dead still mourns the loss of Carl Grimes, creator Robert Kirkman admits that it was a tragic decision that had to be made.
Over the past 8 seasons, The Walking Dead has managed to keep fans on their toes, but rarely in the history of the show has it pulled a twist like Carl's death. Revealing a deadly walker bite in the midseason finale, viewers then had to play a waiting game over the festive period to see how Carl would perish in the midseason premiere. Part of the shock came from the fact that Carl is still very much alive and well in Kirkman's comics, which has led Kirman to explain what the heck is going on.
Carl is still the hot topic at the moment in the world of The Walking Dead, and it seems that neither Kirkman or current showrunner Scott Gimple can escape the hordes of angry fans. When asked in a Tumblr Q&A how Carl's death had affected him personally, Kirkman opened up about how the major twist came to be:
"Carl is one of my favorites and Chandler Riggs was an essential part of the show from day one… so it’s still upsetting. It’s not unlike Andrea’s death in the comics, which upset me very much, and yet I was 100% responsible for it. But I knew it was necessary for the story and would lead to interesting developments to keep things moving along… same with Carl in the show. It’s upsetting… but knowing what’s coming out of it makes the loss a little easier."
Importantly, the silver lining taken from a Carl-free show is that it will help shape the future for the likes of Rick, Daryl, and Maggie in the wake of his exit. Also, while stars of the show - and even Carl actor Chandler Riggs - have all voiced their anger and sadness about the decision, there is no denying that it has helped The Walking Dead continue to grab headlines in a time when its ratings continue to take a hit. Both the show and the comics have had a no-nonsense approach to axing major characters for shock value, but Carl's death came with an altogether more emotional storyline.
Season 8 had promised some big cast departures, but barely anyone thought that the All Out War saga of the show would conclude without Riggs still onboard as a cast member. For years, Kirkman and co. have discussed a time when Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes is no longer with us, but it seemed safe to assume that Carl would be there to continue his father's legacy. There were long-standing rumors of an Old Man Carl rounding off both the comics and the TV series as some sort of sole survivor, but Riggs' swansong may have scuppered those plans
As the Q&A reminds fans, Kirkman has made no bones about the fact that Carl Grimes is one of his favorite characters that he ever created for the comics, making his on-screen death all the more poignant. While Carl continues to be a major player in the comics, it also casts doubt on what his TV departure means for that storyline. Since first broaching the Carl issue, Kirkman admits that he has had over a year to come to terms with the idea and alongside even the most die-hard fans, seems to be coming round to the grim fact that The Walking Dead will have to face a future without Carl.
The Walking Dead continues Sunday, March 18 with 'The Key' on AMC.
Source: Robert Kirkman