Last night saw the return of The Walking Dead and the death of Carl, which has been surrounded in controversy as Chandler Riggs’ father claimed his son was fired, and in addition, many of the actors and just about all of the fans were unhappy learning the little bad ass was getting killed off.
The episode last night hasn’t been that well received (similar to a lot of episodes as of late), but showrunner Scott Gimple (who exists following the season) informed TV Line why he chose to kill off Carl.
We wanted to tell a version of the comic story that kept emotions similar to what you’d get when reading the [source material] but in different ways, so that the comic-book-reading audience didn’t expect what was going to happen. We plan to do that moving forward as well — sometimes pulling moments from the book in sort of verbatim ways and sometimes in ways that are very different, with the goal of heightening the message in some way. Carl’s death fell into that [category]. This in many ways is sort of the ending of an era for The Walking Dead and the starting of a new one.
Carl actually still lives on in the pages of The Walking Dead comic, so fans can at least get their fill there. Gimple goes on to explain why specifically Carl.
He needed to be the person who pushed the world in a certain direction, who put out a certain message. That message might even be denied, but we wanted it to have the incredible weight of coming from this young hero in the most serious of circumstances. And [his demise] can show that this world is still the world of The Walking Dead, where these things happen. It couldn’t have had more gravity [if it had happened to another character].
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm EST. Watch previews for the next episode: