Spoilers for The Walking Dead season 8.
Carl Grimes is doomed to die.
After acting as interim leader to evacuate an under siege Alexandria, Carl revealed he had been bitten by a walker in his midsection — making survival impossible.
Carl Grimes will die, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.
"Yes, Carl is going to die," Carl actor Chandler Riggs said of the teen's fate. "There's no way he can get back from that. His story is definitely coming to an end."
Riggs, who has been with the show since the second episode of its first season in 2010, admitted he thought Carl was safe — "I didn't expect for Carl to ever get killed off," he said in a revealing interview following the revelation of Carl's looming demise — but his time with the show isn't quite over.
"It serves a good purpose in the story," Riggs said of Carl's incurable injury. "There's still a little more left in Carl's story — in episode nine — and that impacts Rick, Michonne and everyone. Although Carl's story is coming to an end, it's not over yet."
According to Riggs, the decision to kill Carl was handed down by showrunner Scott M. Gimple, who said "the bite is going to play out as we've seen bites play out." Calling the wound a "one-way ticket," Gimple explained there's no way out: Carl will die.
That hasn't stopped shocked and upset fans from thinking Carl's imminent demise is another ruse — the show has a history of fakeouts and tricking its viewers — with some going so far as to theorize ways Carl could survive what has otherwise proved to be a death sentence in the world of The Walking Dead.
An outraged fanbase has taken to blasting the show in online comments, with some particularly pissed-off viewers launching a petition calling for Carl's survival and Gimple's firing. The petition has currently reached more than 39,000 of its 50,000 signature goal.
As fans call for a reversal of the decision — some maintain the upcoming mid-season premiere could be reshot to somehow allow Carl to live — it's too late: season 8 on filming of The Walking Dead wrapped in late November, making it impossible to alter course.
Carl's death in February's mid-season premiere will have major ramifications on the remainder of The Walking Dead season 8, with leading man Andrew Lincoln telling ComicBook.com the loss of Rick's son will irreversibly change the show.
"This is bigger than any other death that we've ever had and we realize that as it plays out in the back eight," Lincoln said. "The back eight is completely different from the front eight. This episode happens and everything changes. We spin off into a completely different new world."
Carl Grimes is going to die. That's how it's gotta be.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with its mid-season premiere February 25.