Warning: Spoilers follow for The Walking Dead.
Yes. It's true, Chandler Riggs is leaving The Walking Dead as tonight's episode ended with Carl revealing to his father Rick that he has been bit by a walker.
For those hoping that it was a human bite, sorry, but THR posted an interview with Chandler Riggs where the 18-year-old actor confirms leaving the series.
Here are some highlights:
Was it your decision to leave The Walking Dead?
I'm taking a gap year right now to focus on acting for a while. Leaving Walking Dead wasn't my decision. It was all story related. It made sense story-wise for it to happen for Rick and Michonne and all the other characters.
What was [showrunner Scott M. Gimple's] reasoning in killing Carl?
In the comics, Scott was trying to figure out why there was a hole between Rick slitting Negan's throat at the end of the "All-Out War" arc and then there's the time jump and Negan is alive and in prison and Rick didn't kill Negan. Scott was trying to figure out how to bridge the gap between Rick not wanting to kill Negan and Rick also really wanting to kill Negan, which he does right now [in the show's story]. Scott's way to get around that was to make Carl this really humanitarian figure and person who could see the good in people and see that people can change and not everyone out there is bad. That's what Carl's talk to Rick was in this episode: there's no way that they can kill every one of the Saviors and not everyone is a bad person and there has to be some way forward than just killing people.
Did you talk with Robert Kirkman about this major shift?
I don't think I've talked to Kirkman about it at all.
How will it affect the series?
I don't know how Rick and Michonne are going to handle it. I guess I'll have to watch and find out!
Riggs teases more:
I didn't expect for Carl to ever get killed off. But it serves a good purpose in the story. There's still a little more left in Carl's story — in episode nine [the midseason premiere in 2018] — and that impacts Rick, Michonne and everyone. Although Carl's story is coming to an end it's not over yet.
You can read more from Chandler Riggs discussing his departure from The Walking Dead at the link above.