[The following contains SPOILERS for The Walking Dead.]
The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus is “desperately unhappy” over the death of Carl Grimes. Chandler Riggs’ pudding-loving character will meet his fate in the show’s next episode, after the first-half finale revealed that he suffered a Walker bite. Carl’s death especially shocked comic book fans, who were not expecting the character to go so early.
So angry was the internet over Carl’s death that Walking Dead executive producer Robert Kirkman recently felt compelled to publicly defend the decision. According to Kirkman, the death will act as a catalyst for dramatic developments to come. Fans wonder how Carl’s demise will affect anticipated storylines that have already played out in the comics, with Carl very much involved.
Fans aren’t the only ones upset about Carl exiting The Walking Dead. Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon on the show, also expressed dismay over the death of Carl. Speaking to EW, Reedus said:
“I was desperately unhappy about that. I’ve seen Chandler grow up from a little boy. I’ve known that kid so long, and it always hurts when you lose a family member on the show. Chandler is definitely a family member to me. I was not happy about it. I always thought Chandler would be the last man standing, to be honest.”
The last two seasons of The Walking Dead have seen several long-time cast members make bloody exits. None was more shocking than the death of Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), who had his brains beaten out by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). That same bloody Negan rampage also claimed the life of long-time character Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). Season 7 ended with the death of Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), a regular since season 4. Martin-Green got a happy ending as she went on to play Michael Burnham on Star Trek: Discovery. Morgan (Lennie James) also exits the show this season, though he will remain in the universe as a character on Fear the Walking Dead. Fans don’t have to worry about Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) or Daryl leaving, as both actors have signed new deals through season 9.
The decision to end Carl’s story at this relatively early point in the overall Walking Dead narrative (as established by the comics) strikes some as an odd one. Norman Reedus clearly thought Carl would go on and possibly out-live his character and all the others. Others have theorized that Rick Grimes would ultimately die, leaving Carl to carry on as group leader. Clearly, Robert Kirkman and company had different ideas. As the death of Glenn proved, it doesn’t matter how much fans love a character. If The Walking Dead braintrust decides that character would best serve the show by dying, they won’t hesitate to take them out. They also are not shy about milking a character’s death – or potential death – to boost ratings.
The Walking Dead season 8 continues Sunday, February 25 on AMC.
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