The following contains spoilers from the fall finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead pulled a bite-and-switch during Season 8’s fall finale, when after getting people thinking that Lucille might have a date with someone else’s cranium, no heroes wound up stepping up to the bat.
Alas, the episode’s final moments revealed that there would be a casualty nonetheless — because Carl had been bitten by a walker in the course of transporting Siddiq.
What did original cast member Chandler Riggs have to say about the deadly twist? “Leaving Walking Dead wasn’t my decision. It was all story-related,” he said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Learning of Carl’s fate while filming Episode 6, a few weeks prior, “was quite the shocker for me, Andy [Lincoln, who plays Rick] and everyone,” Riggs said. “It was devastating for me and my family because the show has been such a huge part of my life for so long…. I didn’t expect for Carl to ever get killed off.”
Riggs’ real-life father, William, affirmed as much in a Facebook post. “Watching [TWD EP Scott] Gimple fire my son two weeks before his 18th birthday after telling him they wanted him for the next three years was disappointing,” the parent 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!”
Chandler Riggs — who will last appear in the Feb. 26 midseason premiere, when Carl dies on-screen — told THR the unexpected twist “serves a good purpose in the story,” adding: “I don’t know how Rick and Michonne are going to handle it. I guess I’ll have to watch and find out!”