This 'Walking Dead' Character's Fate Is Up In The Air After The Midseason Finale

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Spoilers ahead for the Dec. 10 episode. On Sunday night's midseason finale, a character who's been pivotal to the plot since the zombie show's inception is revealed to have been bitten by a walker. But will Carl die on The Walking Dead? Rick's son pulled his shirt up to show his father a bite on his side in the final minutes of the finale, and it doesn't seem to be looking great.

Though devoted fans may have been inclined to hold onto some optimism even after the bite was revealed, Scott Gimple, producer and writer for the show, dashed those with a heartbreaking confirmation on Talking Dead, The Walking Dead's after-show. "The bite is going to play out as we’ve seen bites play out, and it’s very important to Carl’s story and the entire story what happens in the next episode," he said. "So I’m just focused on the fact that Carl right now is alive and he has some business to attend to."

That all but puts a nail in Carl's coffin, and though Gimple was reluctant to elaborate on the character's future too much, he did seem to confirm that there weren't going to be any miraculous twists in store to save Carl's life. "[The bite] is a one-way ticket," he said. "But I’d like to think that the things we see in the next episode are so important to his life and the other characters’ lives."

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Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick in The Walking Dead, told Entertainment Weekly that he was completely caught off guard by the twist. "I never saw it coming because I always thought that the kid would be the future, and that was the whole point of this — that I was going to hand over the revolver and let him walk off into the distance, you know?" he told the outlet. "So it was incredibly shocking. Everybody was reeling from it and continue to reel from it."

Chandler Riggs, the actor who plays Carl, took to Twitter after the finale aired to thank the fans who have supported him throughout the show, but offered no more hints on how Carl's demise will play out.

In an interview on Talking Dead, Riggs spoke about the impact that the bite will have on both Carl and the people who love him. "It's a huge moment for him and for Rick and Michonne and for everyone in the group," he said. "He's definitely happy with the way things ended up with him saving all of Alexandria and making sure everyone was alive. It's going to be really interesting to see what happens next."

Lincoln praised Riggs' performance in the finale and in the episode that will follow, saying it was some of the best performances he'd seen the actors give. In doing so, he also confirmed that Riggs will be exiting the series. "The great news is that he absolutely nailed this episode and the returning episode in which he completes his tenure on the show, and it was the perfect way for him to leave with doing some of the finest work that I’ve ever seen him do," he told Entertainment Weekly in the same interview. "He grabbed the bull by the horns and really owned it, and that was one of the great joys of the job."

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As Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick pointed out after the finale, Riggs has been on the show through many of his formative years, and audiences, along with his co-stars, have watched him grow up from a child into a young adult. In the same Entertainment Weekly article, Lincoln spoke to that as well, saying that it makes it all the harder to say goodbye. "It’s been one of the great gifts of my career to spend so much time with this young man and watch him develop," Lincoln said. "And also, he’s super smart, and he’s incredibly composed as a young man. I just think to be able to navigate the schooling years in the zombie apocalypse, it takes a big man, and they found him in Chandler Riggs."

When the show returns in February to finish out the remainder of the season, fans will be gearing up to say goodbye to yet another original Walking Dead character who will be bidding them farewell.