Carl Grimes has officially died in the world of The Walking Dead but literally no one explicitly witnessed the character's final moments, an intentional choice made by the show's creative team.
During an interview on ComicBook.com's After the Dead show, executive producer Greg Nicotero explained the choice to keep the actual moment of Carl's death off-screen. After all, Nicotero would know better than anyone else, seeing as he directed Episode 8x09
"There's no reason that you need to see that moment," Nicotero said. "It's all implied, like the moment where Carl is forced to shoot Lori in season three. There is a respectful way to show this, and I really never imagined that we would have ever wanted to film that. His last words were, 'It's like it's got to be done by somebody that you love.' He's really sparing Rick and Michonne this last heartbreaking moment by being willing to do it himself."
While Andrew Lincoln tells ComicBook.com Carl's death will change Rick Grimes "irrevocably," witnessing his son's merciful suicide could have done more harm than will already be coming.
"I don't think Rick or Michonne could ever truly recover from that," Nicotero went on. "He's already left them with a lot to think about in regards to what his dying wishes are. You know, he really is laying out the possibility what the future can be. He talks about the Governor, and he talks about Woodbury, and the fact that Rick in the past has been able to bring people back. What we realize is that all the flash-forwards that we'd seen to this moment forward, or this moment in the season, were all Carl's visions of the future and what Carl was really hoping. So he needs to leave Rick and Michonne with a sense of hope and a sense that there can be more for them to live for. So I don't think it would have made much sense at all to actually physically see Carl die on screen or to have one of them do it.
"I think it fit perfectly in everything that Chandler [Riggs] was portraying in that moment."
Riggs expressed a similar sentiment while talking to ComicBook.com regarding the show's choice to steer clear of a gruesome sendoff for his character. "I personally wouldn't want to watch a kid shoot himself and I think it's kind of a just, a censorship kind of thing just for the viewers to keep them from going through that," Riggs said. "I'm definitely okay with the way that it was shot and it was edited and everything. I'm definitely happy with how it went down."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC. 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.