Greg Nicotero Defends Upcoming Major 'The Walking Dead' Death

Though The Walking Dead is set to make a major deviation from its comic book source material, [...]

Though The Walking Dead is set to make a major deviation from its comic book source material, executive producer Greg Nicotero believes the story will hold up for fans.

Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season Eight follow!

As Chandler Riggs' Carl Grimes takes his final breaths in the February 25 Episode 8x09, the AMC show will make its biggest deviation from The Walking Dead comics yet. In Robert Kirkman's books, Carl is thriving and emerging as a leader, despite his TV counterpart being cut down much earlier.

"I really do believe that a lot of people will put those feelings aside when they watch this episode, because they're really going to get an opportunity to make some peace with it," Nicotero told EW.

Riggs and others have promised Carl will leave a lasting legacy which begins with the returning episode. It should come as no surprise; Carl's death will be a major narrative driver for the rest of The Walking Dead's eighth season.

Norman Reedus and other cast members seem to have a bit more of a fear regarding the upcoming death and those which may follow. "The people that started this show, to me, are the heart of the show," Reedus said. "When you lose those key members, it's such a big blow to the show, and to the fans, and to us that are there. Who's left? There's only a few of us left out of all those people. If you wanted to turn it into a totally different show, you get rid of those people. But if you want to hold on to what made the show special, you've got to be very careful what you do with those people."

The narrative decision to kill Carl, one which Riggs says was to help another character survive, already spurned a major backlash in the fanbase. In fact, more than 60,000 fans signed a petition to have the creative decision undone.

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.