The Walking Dead is set to return for the back half of season 8 and things aren’t looking good for Carl Grimes (played by Chandler Riggs) on the zombie comic book series-turned TV show. After the controversial decision to kill off Carl, fans have not been shy about telling AMC what they think about the series’ new direction. Now we’re getting a sneak peek at the zombie apocalypse after the impending death of Rick Grimes’ son.
During the season 8 midseason finale, it was revealed that Carl had been bitten on the stomach, sending the Internet into an immediate uproar. Fans attempted to hold onto the Young Sheriff with conspiracy theories assuming that Carl had been bitten by a Whisperer, comic book villains who wear zombie skin but are very much alive. Others were simply angry about what felt like a bait and switch, as showrunner Scott Gimple had previously praised Riggs’s ability to attend college in Georgia and perform his duties on the show simultaneously. Gimple has since gone on record to confirm that the upcoming death is actually happening and that other characters will continue Carl’s arc in his stead.
In spite of the public outcry, Carl’s death is an inevitability, and we’ve just gotten our first look at the sad moment. An EW exclusive reveals some sneak peek photos that give us a glimpse into how Rick Grimes and Michonne will deal with the loss of their son. Carl himself definitely looks worse for wear. We also see a disheartened Maggie here, picking up babysitting duty while Rick’s group deals with the Grimes family crisis. You can check out the full image gallery below:
Viewers have not taken the news of Carl’s impending death well. Season 8’s midseason finale brought in some of The Walking Dead‘s lowest ratings for similar episodes since season 2. The backlash didn’t end there either, as angry Riggs fans have now struck up a petition calling for Gimple to be fired for what they perceive to be mistreatment of the young actor. The petition has garnered over 28,000 signatures in support of Riggs.
Riggs’ father, William Riggs, has also spoken out about The Walking Dead situation, claiming to have never trusted Gimple or AMC and blasting the network for “firing” his son. In his Facebook post, the elder Riggs implied that Gimple had told his son that the creatives behind the show were interested in continuing his run on the series for at least another three years. He also expressed his anger at the firing happening only a couple of weeks before Riggs’ 18th birthday.
The Walking Dead season 8 continues Sunday, February 25 on AMC.