It’s been 4 days, so if you haven’t heard that Carl Grimes (played by Chandler Riggs) on The Walking Dead has been bitten by a zombie, well, you’re not a real fan anyway. Just saying. Nonetheless, this is your obligatory spoiler warning: We’ll be discussing the Season 8 midseason finale and the comic book series created by Robert Kirkman.
Many fans are honestly wondering if The Walking Dead can survive Carl’s death. Those who love the comic book series are especially vexed, as Carl is a major character in the upcoming story-arch and still alive to this day. Perhaps it’s because of this that fans are grasping at possible survival scenarios, no matter who farfetched they might be.
And let’s completely ignore those images of Rick standing over a fresh grave!
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Below, in no particular order, are the 5 most likely theories on how Carl might actually live—though none of them seem particularly likely. At this point, however, showrunner Scott M. Gimple has taken the series so far off the rails, anything is possible!
Carl is Immune
This is an extension of the Rick Grimes is Immune Theory. Fans have postulated Rick’s ability to survive where so many of his peers have fallen, no matter how much shit he gets into, is because he’s immune to the zombie virus. Those who subscribe to this theory further hypothesize that Rick died in the hospital when he was abandoned in a coma and the virus reanimated him—but as his human self. This means Rick’s practically invincible, potentially having died dozens of time, only to return unscathed. In Carl’s case, we can only hope the like-father-like-son adage holds true.
Explore this theory further in the video below form MOVIEidol.
Likelihood: Not Very
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A Cure Exists
Remember that helicopter that buzzed Rick a couple episodes back? What if Society is getting back on its feet? What if a cure exists and the epidemic is being contained? If this is the case, we can hope that a contingency of paramilitaries will repel out of the sky to deliver an antidote before Carl starts to turn.
Likelihood: Extremely Unlikely
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Carl was Bitten by a Whisperer
Those who read the comic know that All Out War is followed by The Whisperer War. The Whisperers are revealed to be a tribe of survivors who walked the earth in zombie skins, blending in with the undead who regard them as one of their own. If Carl was bitten by a Whisperer, this could be an introduction to the mysterious clan and, more importantly, it means that Carl won’t die. Unfortunately, this is atypical Whisperer behavior; though they walk with the zombies, they don’t attack people or eat flesh.
Explore this theory further in the video below from MOVIEidol.
Likelihood: Snowball’s Chance in Hell
Carl Will Be Kept Alive as a Zombie
Remember back in Season 2 when we found out that Hershel had been keeping zombies alive in the barn? In the early days of the apocalypse, the wise father-figure clung to hope, believing it could be possible for everyone to survive the storm. Unfortunately, even seeing Sophia shamble out wasn’t enough to convince Rick’s crew to let the walkers live. But this is Carl we’re talking about—Rick’s son, his reason for existing. Could he make an exception to the rule? Will he keep Carl in the jail cell Morgan built (assuming Alexandria wasn’t completely destroyed by Negan)? I guess the thought is slightly less devastating than losing Carl altogether, but it’s still a pretty bleak scenario.
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Carl Will Stay Around as a Ghost
This theory isn’t as ridiculous as it might sound at first. In the comics, Lori haunted Rick as a specter for years before he was finally able to make peace with her passing. And we can’t forget that Carl appears to be present in the Old Man Rick/Time-Jump scene from the season premiere. We didn’t see his face, a fact that led me to postulate it wasn’t really Carl, but it could be Carl’s Ghost. Perhaps, even in a peaceful future, Rick still imagines Carl close, keeping his ghost alive—even if only in his mind. Of course, this is survival in its most tenuous form, as Carl will still be dead. But there were characters in Six Feet Under who remained prominent for years after passing away.
Likelihood: Pretty Damn Likely
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Check out the trailer and synopsis for the return of The Walking Dead Season 8, dubbed The Last Stand, airing February 25th on AMC.
Official Synopsis: Last season Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his group of survivors were confronted with their deadliest challenge yet. With the comfort of Alexandria, they let their guard down, only to be reminded how brutal the world they live in can be.
Feeling powerless under Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) rules and demands, Rick advocated the group play along. But seeing that Negan couldn’t be reasoned with, Rick began rallying together other communities affected by the Saviors. And with the support of the Hilltop and Kingdom, they finally have enough fire power to contest the Saviors.
This season Rick brings “All Out War” to Negan and his forces. The Saviors are larger, better-equipped, and ruthless — but Rick and the unified communities are fighting for the promise of a brighter future. The battle lines are drawn as they launch into a kinetic, action-packed offensive.
Up until now, survival has been the focus of Rick and our group, but it’s not enough. They have to fight to take back their freedom so that they can live. So that they can rebuild. As with any battle, there will be losses. Casualties. But with Rick leading the Alexandrian forces, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) leading the Hilltop, and King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) leading the Kingdom — Negan and the Saviors’ grip on this world may finally be coming to an end.
Season 8 of The Walking Dead and Red Machete return Sunday, February 25th.
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