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Spoilers below for The Walking Dead's midseason finale, "How It's Gotta Be."
For the most part, The Walking Dead's midseason finale was as destructive as any episode has been in the past, with only The Hilltop still standing mostly safe and sound. Something that wasn't destroyed, however, was the sanctity of spoiler freedom, with Carl's big bite reveal actually being kept a secret (mostly) by the Internet's biggest spoiler sites. Crazily enough, this largely unprecedented move was inspired by none other than star Chandler Riggs himself, who personally requested that Carl's impending death stay under wraps.
The biggest of all the spoiler sites, The Spoiling Dead Fans, shocked its fanbase recently by declaring it would not be releasing its usual weekly post of detailed episode teases, saying an explanation would come after the midseason finale aired. That explanation was posted today, and as stated, it involved Chandler Riggs putting out a humbled request for the TSDF admins to keep the big shocker off the site ahead of the midseason finale. (No matter that the site already had a huge thread speculating on the midseason finale's death probably being Carl, with all kinds of specific information backing the claim up.) You can check out the message below, with Riggs' penchant for lower-case lower case lettering flipped to capitals when necessary.
Hi, So I've come to realize that you all have probably figured out the big reveal at the end of 808. If not, you will soon enough via one of your sources. I get that you guys have been doing this since we started, but I have a request. Out of respect for me, for Carl, and for one of the last few seasons of the show, I'm asking you to not spoil the ending of 808 once your sources inform you of what happens. I poured my heart into a couple of episodes this season, and 808 is one of them. I'm so proud of my performance and a lot of it rides off of a surprise ending. Of course, this is what you all do, but the integrity of what happens is pretty crucial to my performance throughout the rest of the episode, so I'd really appreciate it if you all would hold back just this one time.
ShinyFirefly, the Spoiling Dead Fans site owner and admin, acknowledged that the site's limited treatment of Season 8's winter finale was something that hadn't happened before in all the years that it has been dedicated to releasing any and all Walking Dead info that's out there. Plus, it wasn't exactly an easy decision to change gears like that and basically do the opposite of the website's central mission, since everyone involved knew that the TSDF Army of fans would not react wholly respectably upon discovering no spoilers were being released. Still, Chandler Riggs' politeness and maturity took the admins by surprise, since they're generally accustomed to getting legal threats and more, and so they decided to honor the actor's wishes.
However, the Spoiler Dead Fans admins did have a single favor of their own, and they asked Chandler Riggs to help deflate a lot of the in-site backlash by writing a message to the TSDF fans about the situation. Perhaps surprisingly, Riggs did just that in one of the more gracious responses imaginable. Check out part of it below.
I don't really know how to start this other than saying thank you. Though we (cast & crew) have kinda always been super frustrated with this community, seeing how dedicated you all are to the show over the last few weeks really gives me a new appreciation for you all. Up until 701, I hated seeing our hard work getting leaked, but once 701 aired with a large chunk of the fanbase knowing what would happen, it made me realize that knowing what happens doesn't always take away the integrity of the show. though many people knew who was going to die, they still cried and shook in terror seeing the characters they loved getting killed. That being said, I reached out to Ninja [a site administrator] a few weeks ago asking to not reveal the end of 808, since a lot of my performance relied on how the episode ends. Ninja & Shiny knew that they would take a lot of heat from this decision, but them caring more about how I felt towards this episode than their reputation gave me a massive new level of respect and appreciation towards them.
It will be interesting to see if this approach gets used by anyone else to try and curb unwanted spoilers in the near future, either at The Spoiling Dead Fans or somewhere else. My gut tells me things would happen much differently if so, but without any reports spoiling it for us, we'll just have to wait and see.
Check out what Chandler Riggs had to say about why Carl's death was conceived, and then see if your biggest post-midseason finale questions match up with our list. For the next couple of months, Walking Dead fans will be waiting for that midseason premiere, to hit AMC on Sunday, February 25, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what other new shows are coming before then, head to our fall TV premiere schedule and our 2018 midseason premiere schedule.