Sunday’s intense midseason finale, “How It’s Gotta Be,” left The Walking Dead viewers mulling over a series of questions – questions that will likely go unanswered until the zombie drama returns in February.
Chief among them is “why Carl?”, after it was revealed that Chandler Riggs’ series stalwart had suffered a deadly walker bite to the chest while trying to save a stranger in need. And as if that wasn’t contentious enough, the actor’s own father accused AMC and series showrunner Scott Gimple of misleading Chandler Riggs in a now-deleted Facebook comment. The family member claimed that Gimple and Co. had initially led Riggs to believe that Carl Grimes would be a fixture of The Walking Dead for “the next three years,” only to reveal that Rick’s son is now living on borrowed time after “How It’s Gotta Be.”
To his credit, Gimple outright denies such allegations, after telling THR that season 8’s latest shocker “has nothing to do with real life,” as the impending death of Carl Grimes “serves the bigger story.”
I can’t get into it too much because it really has to do with the story. That kind of says it all. It’s all having to do with the greater story of the season. It will be very apparent, the relationship of this awful incident — this very intense story turn — to the greater story. I don’t even need to answer because I know as you’re watching it into the next half of the season that you’ll get it. It has everything to do with what happens throughout the rest of season eight.
So don’t go pointing the finger of blame at Chandler Riggs for his decision to enroll in college; Gimple and his team have been secretly planning for Carl’s death for quite some time.
This was a story turn, that’s it. We did not receive a request [from any actor] or anything like that. This has everything to do with story. It’s unbelievably difficult to lose someone you’ve worked with for as long as we’ve worked with him. It’s been a really tough thing. We’re hoping to be telling a story that’s worthy of it.
Having left viewers on tenterhooks with the super-sized “How It’s Gotta Be,” The Walking Dead will return to unfinished business on February 25th, 2018. AMC is yet to renew its primetime zombie drama for a ninth season, but if nothing else, Gimple is overly confident that TWD will be around for years (and perhaps decades?) to come.