While it may never have reached the high highs it did in the comics following the events of "All-Out War," that does not mean Carl Grimes's relationship with Negan on AMC's The Walking Dead was not one of the more surprising dynamics on TV the last couple of years.
During a recent appearance at Walker Stalker Con, Chandler Riggs -- the actor who played Carl for more than seven seasons before his death at the start of 2018 -- talked about the relationship between his character and the monstrous murderer played by Watchmen and Supernatural actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
“He’s kind of the main reason that Rick didn’t kill Negan — Carl pushed for this brighter future that he was talking about,” Riggs told a fan. “I think that Carl was definitely kind of on the same page even though I think that Negan had different motives behind their relationship; he wanted to kind of corrupt him and bring him to the dark side.”
Negan is the sort of smooth-talking villain who wants everyone to believe taht he has their best interest at heart -- as long as they don't cross him.
In the comics, Carl first attempted to murder Negan and on that they built a twisted friendship. Unlike in the TV series, Carl survived the war with the Saviors, so that when Negan was captured, he was able to have regular conversations with him in "prison" and ultimately the two would work together after Negan got out.
Some fans expressed disappointment with the fact that Carl's dynamic with Negan will never come to pass, but given The Walking Dead's history of applying fan-favorite stories to different characters, don't be too surprised if something similar comes up with Enid or somebody.
Of course, this is far from the only story that will be fundamentally altered by Carl's absence; The Walking Dead is heading into largely uncharted territory by omitting the character who might one day take over as the series lead in the comics.
The next Walker Stalker Con will take place in Orlando in August. Gilliam is scheduled to attend.
The Walking Dead will return for its ninth season in the fall. Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC.