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‘The Walking Dead’ mid-season finale leaves fans shocked, upset

Carl (Chandler Riggs) and RIck (Andrew Lincoln) in the 'Walking Dead' finale.
Carl (Chandler Riggs) and RIck (Andrew Lincoln) in the 'Walking Dead' finale. AMC

** WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! DO NOT READ ON IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE ‘WALKING DEAD’ MID-SEASON FINALE **

The Walking Dead mid-season finale left many longtime fans shocked and upset after it seemed like a major character may be facing his end.

Yes, it looks like Carl Grimes — Rick’s son and a beloved character since the start of the series — has been bitten by a walker, and as anyone remotely familiar with zombie lore knows, there’s no antidote for that. The Walking Dead audience is not amused because Carl is one of the original survivors; when the show began, he was only a child.

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Over eight seasons, Carl, played by Chandler Riggs, has grown into a teenager and many consider him to be the heart of the show.

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Additionally, in the Walking Dead comic-book series, Carl is a fundamental character, and those who’ve read them say if he dies, the TV show is really going to go off the rails and away from the original story. Some fans are so upset with this development they’re saying it’s the final nail in the coffin, so to speak. They’re going to stop watching the show altogether.

Walking Dead executive producer Scott Gimple has come under major fire online as the culprit responsible for Carl’s likely death.

In a now-deleted Facebook post, Riggs’ father, William, also expressed disgust at Gimple’s alleged decision to “fire” Riggs.

“Watching Gimple fire my son 2 weeks before his 18th birthday after telling him they wanted him for the next 3 years was disappointing,” he wrote. “I never trusted Gimple or AMC but Chandler did. I know how much it hurt him. But we do absolutely know how lucky we have been to be a part of it all and appreciate all the love from fans all these years!”

For his part, Gimple insists that it’s all part of the bigger story, and it’ll be “apparent” why Carl had to go.

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“It’s all having to do with the greater story of the season,” said Gimple to The Hollywood Reporter“It will be very apparent, the relationship of this awful incident — this very intense story turn — to the greater story.”

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For those Walking Dead faithful who can’t bear the idea of Carl leaving the show (even though Gimple pretty much confirmed it): we didn’t actually see Carl die, just a bite mark in his abdomen. Theories are already circulating that it wasn’t a real zombie who bit him, but instead a “Whisperer” — people who dress like zombies but aren’t actually dead. Some people even postulate that Carl is immune to the bite.

Will this be the next in a long line of Walking Dead death fake-outs? Or is Carl really on his way out?

We’ll have to wait until mid-February when The Walking Dead returns to AMC.

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