Spoilers for The Walking Dead's midseason 8 finale follow.
In the aftermath of Carl Grimes revealing a bite mark to his father in the closing moments of The Walking Dead's 2017 run, many fans are outraged by the show's decision to make such a strong deviation from the comic book source material. Now, a petition calling for the firing of creative decision maker Gimple has been created on Change.org, earning over 26,000 signatures at the time of publishing. The petition's goal is set for 35,000 signatures.
"Scott M. Gimple is an American writer, producer, and showrunner for the television show The Walking Dead," writes the petitions creator Tyler Sigmon. "Recently, Scott has decided to kill off the shows most pivotal character Carl Grimes, son of main character Rick Grimes."
"The entire show has been a lead up to showing Carl become the leader that his father is, maybe one day taking on the mantle himself," the description goes on. "Actor Chandler Riggs even considered postponing his college education so he could work on the show after Gimple promised that he would be on the show for 3 more years."
Sigmon, however, is not entirely on the mark. Riggs had planned on attending the University of Georgia while working on the AMC series but his exit from the show freed the actor to move to Los Angeles, where he will focus on acting before possibly revisiting the college route.
"Chandler's dad, William Riggs, said in a Facebook post, that was later pulled, that Gimple fired his son just 2 weeks before his 18th birthday even though he promised the actor 3 more years of working on the show," Sigmon writes. "He goes on to say that he never trusted Gimple or AMC and that his son did, making it especially heartbreaking for him to be fired. Chandler has been working on the Walking Dead since 2010, spending almost half of his life on the show. Gimple gave no explination as to why Chandler was killed off other than that it was because of 'the story,' and that it had nothing to do with personal issues but many speculate that the claim is false."
Sigmon's petition appears to be largely driven by speculation but that hasn't stopped the signatures from pouring in. The other portion of Sigmon's desire to see Gimple removed from the AMC series is his attachment to The Walking Dead comics, where Carl Grimes continues to thrive as a key character in new issues.
"Carl is still alive in the comic series and has gone on to play a pivotal role in every major conflict the group has faced," Sigmon writes. "Some fans even speculated that he would do this in the TV show, being the last survivor in the apocalypse. A lot of fans have taken to social media to express their disagreement with Gimple's decision. Others have also expressed their feelings toward his decision calling for his immediate resignation. This petition is meant to bring AMC TV into the spotlight and fire The Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple for his actions and unfair treatment of actor Chandler Riggs."
It's extremely unlikely Sigmon's petition will have any affect on the AMC series or its crew. Creative decisions cannot be undone and the remainder of The Walking Dead's eighth season has been shot in its entirety. Furthermore, this is not the first time fans of the AMC series have launched petitions in outrage of characters being killed off. In 2014, a petition to bring Beth back to the show gained steam online. Beth would be seen once again on the AMC series in hallucination form but it was likely unrelated to the 65,000+ fans who signed it.
The Walking Dead returns for the second half of its eighth season on February 25, 2018. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.