Speculation regarding Chandler Riggs and Carl leaving The Walking Dead has come about as a result of Chandler Riggs being accepted into college and his 7-year contract for The Walking Dead ending.
Movie Pilot points out it will be difficult for a 17-year-old to go to college and work on The Walking Dead full time. In addition, they did a bit of investigating and found social media postings from Chandler Riggs and his father that seemingly hint at Chandler's departure from The Walking Dead.
One Facebook post that Chandler Riggs' father ended up deleting seemingly states Chandler Riggs is finished with The Walking Dead:
7 year contract completed! Grateful to AMC, Cast & Crew, TWD fan base and especially Chandler for always being 100% dedicated. Whether it was getting up at 4AM, working in the freezing cold past 2AM, leaving his friends and carefree kiddom behind, scrambling to make up missed schoolwork, he has done it without complaint and always made me proud & amazed to be his dad!
Chandler's father also posted a similar post on Instagram again stating The Walking Dead contract was complete and used the "freedom" hashtag.
There hasn't been any official word from AMC or Chandler Riggs if he is leaving The Walking Dead or that Carl is getting killed off (don't expect to), but it's possible Chandler Riggs could simply renew his contract. While the train of thought might lead to Carl getting killed off (back at the 2011 NYCC Robert Kirkman promised us he wouldn't do that, but teased: "You know this is a lie, right? Or maybe next time I'll just shoot him on the other side of the head."), AMC could simply use Carl sparingly in future episodes. Carl is still alive in the comics; however, as we all know no one is safe in The Walking Dead and the TV series has gone in different directions.
My gut tells me they won't kill off Carl in The Walking Dead.
Regarding Andrew Lincoln leaving The Walking Dead, it's said both he and Norman Reedus have renewed their contracts for The Walking Dead Season 8.
"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC.
(above Carl zombie image via Living Dead Girl Nicole)