The Walking Dead shocked the fandom with this episode 4 years ago

Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) - The Walking Dead - Season 2, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) - The Walking Dead - Season 2, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

The Walking Dead is known for giving us significant shocks, so fans should be used to it, but we aren’t. No one saw this one coming, and this event has turned many fans away, never to return. “How It’s Gotta Be” was the midseason finale of the eighth season, and it was revealed that Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) had been bit. We would then see his heartbreaking death in the midseason premiere “Honor” two months later.

Carl Grimes
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 9 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

You could hear the collective gasp across the fandom. Not Carl! We watched him grow from a very young age to practically an adult, and he had so much more story to tell. Many fans hoped he would eventually step into his dad, Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) boots as the group leader.

At the time, Scott Gimple was the showrunner, and he told THR:

"This was a story turn, that’s it. We did not receive a request [from any actor] or anything like that. This has everything to do with story. It’s unbelievably difficult to lose someone you’ve worked with for as long as we’ve worked with him. It’s been a really tough thing. We’re hoping to be telling a story that’s worthy of it."

Carl Grimes The Walking Dead

When this episode aired, Gimple stated that Carl’s death would be understood when the overall storyline was revealed. For fans of Carl, this was not the case. They couldn’t understand why he would be killed that it was a waste of his story.

In the comics, Carl Grimes survives the 25 year time jump and is married, to Sophia, and has a daughter named Andrea. Sadly, his death and the end of the series would never allow for this to be played out on screen.

Carl was helping Siddiq (Avi Nash) get to safety in the sewers as Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan), and his Saviors were attacking Alexandria.

I found it interesting that in the interview with THR, Gimple was asked if he was confident of at least 10 seasons for the series, and his reply:

"I’m confident of beyond a tenth season — we’re building toward the future."

That comment didn’t age well as the series is now in its eleven and final season. That wasn’t too much of a future for the flagship series.

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After his series death, Chandler Riggs starred in the series A Million Little Things, where he played a character named PJ for seasons one and two.