The mid-season finale of The Walking Dead stunned viewers when it was revealed that Carl Grimes had been bitten by a walker earlier, meaning he would soon be the latest character to meet their demise on the series. In an interview with ComicBook.com, series lead Andrew Lincoln weighed in on the latest development and hinted at how Carl’s impending death will impact Rick moving forward.
Lincoln revealed that learning about Carl’s fate was the hardest news he had to receive concerning a departing cast member:
“This was the hardest… Losing Steven was… the thought of the journey without Steven in the cast was unbearable but this is… I didn’t see it coming.”
However, when Lincoln was approached by showrunner Scott M. Gimple, the series lead believed he was about to be told of his own exit from the series:
“Scott called me up and said, ‘You’re gonna hate this one. I want to just forewarn you.’ Even then, I was waiting to say, ‘This is a really cool way of telling me that I’m off the show, you know that?’ That’s what I thought he was about to say. He said, ‘It’s the kid.’ I couldn’t even say, ‘No.’ I was silent for a minute. He said, twice, ‘Are you still there?’ I just didn’t see it coming.”
Though Rick Grimes has lost several loved ones over the course of the series, Lincoln explained while Carl’s death will affect Rick unlike any other loss:
“He’s not Judith’s father but he’s her dad. And, of course, Michonne. They’re in love. But this is… There are times in the back eight that I felt that the show was very courageous in that we didn’t know what we’re doing. Season 1 through 4, we’re still investigating and work out what the show is. Still, I think we’re trying to do that, but it felt like a bit like those seasons in this back eight. He’s lost the things that he’s fighting this war for. That has a huge effect on him and it changes him irrevocably.
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The Walking Dead stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Sonequa Martin-Green, Alanna Masterson, Christian Serratos, Josh McDermitt, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Austin Nichols, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Tom Payne, Austin Amelio, Xander Berkeley, Pollyanna McIntosh, Steven Ogg, and Katelyn Nacon.
The Walking Dead returns on February 25, 2018 on AMC.