The Walking Dead set the course for a core character's death on Sunday night, in what appears to be an effort to keep another character alive.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 8x08, How It's Gotta Be, follow.
With Carl Grimes being bitten and marked for death in The Walking Dead's midseason finale, fans have been left wondering why the AMC series would kill the only son of Rick Grimes so suddenly. After all, he is still alive and thriving in The Walking Dead comics, so this marks the show's biggest deviation from the source material. According to Chandler Riggs' interview with THR, the move was made to open the door for Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan's survival.
"In the comics, [showrunner] Scott [Gimple] was trying to figure out why there was a hole between Rick slitting Negan's throat at the end of the All Out War arc and then there's the time jump and Negan is alive and in prison and Rick didn't kill Negan," Riggs said. "Scott was trying to figure out how to bridge the gap between Rick not wanting to kill Negan and Rick also really wanting to kill Negan, which he does right now [in the show's story]. Scott's way to get around that was to make Carl this really humanitarian figure and person who could see the good in people and see that people can change and not everyone out there is bad. That's what Carl's talk to Rick was in this episode: there's no way that they can kill every one of the Saviors and not everyone is a bad person and there has to be some way forward than just killing people."
This may or may not be a spoiler for The Walking Dead Season 8's ending as Rick and Negan will most certainly come face to face again before the run ends. Fans had thought the door to follow the comics was already opened, however, when Morgan built a prison in an Alexandria home.
For Riggs, though, his character serving as a device to keep Negan alive doesn't make his exit any less "devastating," especially considering he was planning on sticking around Georgia for three more years.
"It was devastating for me and my family because the show has been such a huge part of my life for so long," Riggs said. "For a few days, we didn't know what to do; I just bought a house in Senoia [near where the show films in Georgia]. That was a big deal that I wouldn't be on anymore. I decided that I wanted to not go to college for at least a year and move to L.A. and focus on acting and music. It ended up being a great thing because now I get to do all kinds of other stuff that I haven't been able to do in the last eight years."
The Walking Dead returns for the second half of its eighth season on February 25, 2018. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.