The Walking Dead creator has defended the decision to kill off a key character in upcoming episodes of the show.
In the midseason finale of season eight, Carl Grimes was bitten by a zombie. His death will be seen in the midseason premiere on February 25.
Fans were not happy with the move from the programme’s showrunners, not least because the character is still alive in the comic books on which the series was based, and features in a very prominent storyline later down the line.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, comic book creator Robert Kirkman said: “I think Scott [M. Gimple, showrunner] first brought it up to me as a possibility probably about a year ago at this point. At first, I was kind of like, ‘Well, that’s a big one, you know?’ I might have had a little bit of trepidation.
“But once he laid out to me exactly what his long-term plans were, and the things that come out of it, and the things that it leads to, it was something I got on board with,” he continued.
Kirkman, who also serves as an executive producer on the show, said that fans weren’t supposed to be happy when characters die. “We are supposed to be worrying about what comes next, and anticipating what comes next, and stressing about what comes next,” he said. “That just shows you’re engaged and you’re interested.
“Our job is to pay that off and fulfil that interest, and prove that this was a decision worth making. That’s what we’ve got to do.”
He added that the episode in which Grimes dies is “a great tribute to Carl the character, and Chandler [Riggs] the actor”. “It’s definitely Chandler’s best work,” Kirkman said. “His work in this episode is absolutely amazing. It’s something he should be really proud of. I think it’s something people will be talking about for a good long while. We’re just really excited to share with the audience.”
AMC has revealed when the ninth season of The Walking Dead will return. Fans will be able to see the next series of the show, which will be handled by new showrunner Angela Kang, in late 2018.