Fans of The Walking Dead were left wondering, "Why?" when a core character revealed themselves to be doomed by walker bite in the midseason 8 finale on Sunday night but the showrunner claims to have good reason for the decision.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 8x08, How It's Gotta Be, follow.
When the AMC series continues beyond its midseason 8 premiere in 2018, it will do so without Chandler Riggs and his Carl Grimes character. Showrunner Scott Gimple, however, promises this is a "story" decision and nothing more, taking responsibility for the decision.
"This came from myself and the writers and tackling this current story that we're telling now and some things for the future," Gimple told THR. "It will be very evident — the relationship of this tragic moment — with the entirety of this story and ultimately the conclusion and resolution of this entire arc."
For now, those reasons will remain unspoken on Gimple's end (though Riggs has been quite open about it). "I can't really say what the giant impact is or how this changes the show because it does so in a huge way and it has everything to do with how the next half of the season plays out," Gimple said. "It's devastating for the characters and especially how we come to realize how it happened. It happened in a moment that was on screen. We didn't see the absolute bite but we saw when it happened and we even saw Carl's reaction to it after it happened in one of the episodes that we've seen this season."
Despite the Riggs family expressing a sense of betrayal with Carl being suddenly written out of the show, Gimple doubled down on the decision being strictly story driven. "It has nothing to do with real life in any way. All the real-life things were of no concern," Gimple said. "In fact, that's the only thing that made it difficult — a real-life relationship with Chandler, how much we love to work with him and how talented he is. The story went in that direction. If people watch the whole season, they will see how incredibly critical it is to the telling of the story."0comments
"This was a story turn, that's it," Gimple adds. "We did not receive a request [from any actor] or anything like that. This has everything to do with story. It's unbelievably difficult to lose someone you've worked with for as long as we've worked with him. It's been a really tough thing. We're hoping to be telling a story that's worthy of it."
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.