WARNING: Possible spoils for The Walking Dead below
Thanks to the constant attention it receives from fans and the numerous interviews given by cast and crew, The Walking Dead is not exactly a show that can pull off the long con. Two years ago, the series teased fans into briefly believing that Glenn Rhee had died before his time. Despite making fans wait a few weeks before learning that Glenn had survived a run-in with a horde of zombies outside a dumpster, most fans knew within minutes of the episode concluding that Glenn had survived. Fans had even figured out exactly how he had survived. Likewise, despite making us wait six months between the sixth-season finale and the seventh-season premiere, few were surprised by Abraham and Glenn’s death (although, many were just horrified).
The Walking Dead’s ability to completely surprise both comic-book readers and those who haven’t read the source material changed when Carl was bitten in this year’s midseason finale. That was a surprise to everyone, thanks in part to the spoiler sites agreement with Chandler Riggs not to reveal the plot twist. A lot of people were upset by Carl’s zombie bite, including Chandler Riggs and Norman Reedus, but at this point, the worst thing that The Walking Dead could do is to undo that surprise by allowing Carl to live. That would be tantamount to trolling The Walking Dead fans, and after all those near-deaths in the sixth season, fans no longer have the patience for that.
Notwithstanding a popular fan theory positing how Carl could survive, it seems very unlikely that AMC would try and pull a long con on its fans by allowing Carl to survive. Not after Scott Gimple basically confirmed that Carl would die on Talking Dead; not after Robert Kirkman defended Scott Gimple’s decision; not after so many cast members expressed remorse over the loss of Carl — and not after Chandler Riggs explained that Carl’s death was necessary so that Negan could live.