Before leaving television screens for a mid-season break, The Walking Dead managed to anger fans by revealing Carl Grimes has been bitten by a walker.
As one of five remaining original characters and someone who’s still alive in the comics, no-one could quite believe the show would kill off such a major figure.
The comic’s creator Robert Kirkman has since spoken to Entertainment Weekly about the decision, which was seemingly pushed by showrunner Scott M. Gimple.
“I think Scott first brought it up to me as a possibility probably about a year ago at this point,” Kirkman — who acts as an executive producer on the TV show — told the publication.
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“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.”
The writer said they anticipated the online reaction: “We’re not supposed to be happy when these characters die. We are supposed to be worried about what comes next, and anticipating what comes next, and stressing about what comes next.
“That just shows that you’re engaged and you’re interested. Our job is to now pay that off and fulfil that interest, and prove that this was a decision worth making. That’s what we’ve got to do.”
The Walking Dead returns 25 February.