The Walking Dead cast and crew had an emotional time crafting Carl's final episode, especially Mid-Season Eight premiere director Greg Nicotero.
"I think it's one of our most powerful episodes that we've ever produced," Nicotero told EW. "When I watched the first cut of this episode, tears were coming out of my eyes 20 minutes into it."
Earning such praise and tears from Nicotero in The Walking Dead world can be no easy feat. The VFX genius and executive producer has been with the AMC series since its earliest days. In fact, Nicotero has directed some of the shows most devastating episodes, including the Season Seven premiere which saw Glenn and Abraham brutally sent off. The Mid-Season Eight premiere, however, will see Chandler Riggs bow out as a conclusion the shocking bite mark reveal's narrative in the Mid-Season Finale.
"I would compare this episode very much to the episode with Chad Coleman in terms of really having some space to breathe with these characters as they process what happened," Nicotero said, referencing What Happened and What's Going On (the episode where Tyreese suddenly died).
"It's never easy," Nicotero said of losing main cast members. "It's never easy because you can never really understand what they're going through. There's never really anything you can say that will make them feel better. You just really, really want to make sure that they have an opportunity to show people what their character was made of. Between Michael Rooker and Chad Coleman and Sonequa [Martin-Green] and the people that have brought so much to the show, it's really making sure I honor them and give them that opportunity." Riggs was certainly quite difficult, as well, considering the tightly knit cast and crew watched him grow up before their eyes.
"I really try not to get super emotional when we're shooting that stuff," Nicotero said. "But it's always this delayed reaction. It was the same with Dale. I remember directing the episode with Jeffery DeMunn, and I was so wrapped up with the technique of shooting it and making sure I got all the beats and all the character moments, that it didn't really hit me until afterwards."
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.