When Chandler Riggs was 10 years old, he was cast as Carl Grimes for the new Walking Dead series. Based on the same-titled comics created by Robert Kirkman, the series featured many iconic characters during its 12 year run, some of which died along the way; one of the most difficult deaths for many viewers was that of Carl Grimes.
During the midseason premiere of season 8 of The Walking Dead, fans watched the episode titled "Honor" in a state of shock. Carl Grimes was going to die during this episode and there was nothing Rick (Andrew Lincoln) or anyone else could do to prevent it.
In the previous episode, Carl revealed a walker bite on his abdomen. He received it while he aided Siddiq (Avi Nash) in his escape to the sewers below Alexandria. He said goodbye to his family and friends, and in the end, Carl chose to end his life so that his parents didn't have to shoulder the weight of a difficult task.
Carl Grimes' death - The Walking Dead
Viewers of The Walking Dead watched Carl and Chandler grow up on screen. He began his journey as a young boy trying to navigate life in an apocalypse. He grew up much quicker than he would have in the "regular world" and was required to do things no child of that age should have to endure. He killed Shane's (Jon Bernthal) reanimated body, watched his friend Sophia (Madison Lintz) walk out of the barn as a walker, and had to shoot his mother Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) after she gave birth to Judith.
Watching him grow up on screen is one reason his death is so difficult. Viewers felt a connection to this character that was much different than with other characters due to his age. It is always hard to watch a child die in your favorite series, but with one who was featured for eight years, it made it even more challenging to bear.
Another reason Carl's death received the reaction it did is because people believed he would be the last Grimes standing, as it was in the comics. At the end of the comic story, he was married, had a child, and was much older. Fans thought his fate was safe and would carry out his story from the source material. Carl's death is said to have begun the downtick in viewership of the series, which was closely followed by the exitRick's.
The Walking Dead aired its final episode in November 2022 on AMC. The network has created several new spinoffs that continue the stories of many main charcters.