On the list of all the major ways The Walking Dead TV series has diverged from the comic books, the death of Carl Grimes will surely go down as one of the biggest. Rick’s son has been a constant presence in the source material and it was truly shocking when Chandler Riggs’ character was revealed to have been munched on by a walker at the end of the midseason finale, ahead of his eventual passing in the following episode.
Executive producer Scott M. Gimple recently acknowledged the split from canon (Grimes Jr. is still alive in Robert Kirkman’s source material), too, and how AMC’s creators intentionally crafted a version of events that would surprise even those familiar with The Walking Dead comics.
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.
But it wasn’t only the audience who didn’t expect what was going to happen, as Riggs himself was also caught off guard. Speaking to a crowded panel the other week at Walker Stalker Con in Nashville, the actor was asked how he reacted when he first found out about Carl’s fate, and here’s what he said:
“I think I was surprised like everyone here. I was very surprised. It was very surprising. Not something me or anyone would have expected.”
Though Rick’s son may be gone, The Walking Dead certainly isn’t. Production on the ninth season is currently underway – with set pics to prove it! – and it’s expected to air sometime in October. That’s still a long ways away, but if it’s more undead action you’re after, Fear The Walking Dead season 4 is still airing, and will be until the finale hits on June 10th.