Why 'The Walking Dead' Is Going to Kill Carl

"Is there a method to the madness?"

This is the question that fans of AMC's The Walking Dead have been asking for the last couple of months, following the devastating revelation that Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) had been bitten and would die in the midseason premiere. The character has been around since the very first episode, with many regarding him as one of the most important parts of the overall story. Learning that he's going to die was quite the shock to viewers.

So, why go this direction? Why kill off a character that has meant so much to the franchise, and has always been set up as the story's future?

While there isn't a clear answer for this other than the usual "story," Chandler Riggs did reveal why the move made sense in his mind. Back in December, Riggs told THR that he felt the entire decision to kill Carl was based on the idea of keeping Negan alive.

"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."

If you've read the comics, you know what Riggs is talking about here. At the end of the All Out War storyline, many believed Rick would kill Negan. He did make a promise, after all. However, the next issue revealed a major time jump, and Negan was locked away in a prison cell. For the last few seasons, the show has hinted at this eventual fate by having Morgan build that cell in the basement following the attack by the Wolves. He famously told Rick, "Maybe you'll have another choice next time."

This season, Carl has tried to push Rick to become a better man, and not to turn to violence so quickly. With Carl dying, Rick will want to honor his his son's final wishes, which could mean keeping Negan alive.

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Following The Walking Dead's Mid-Season Eight premiere on Sunday night, ComicBook.com's After the Dead will be live to recap Chandler Riggs' final episode with executive producer Greg Nicotero and more word from Riggs himself at 10:22 pm ET on ComicBook NOW's Facebook page and ComicBook.com Orginals' YouTube channel.

The Walking Dead returns for the second half of its eighth season on February 25, 2018. Fear the Walking Dead will debut its fourth season after The Walking Dead concludes its eighth, at 10 pm ET on April 15. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.