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*Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched The Walking Dead's midseason finale, titled "How It's Gotta Be." *
Chandler Riggs is going through one of the more hectic times of his career, now that his run on The Walking Dead is confirmed to be coming to an end in just two months. Carl's big reveal in the midseason finale was one of the most game-changing moments in the TV show's history, definitely outweighing Glenn and Abraham's murders, at least in terms of how it completely upends the comic book adaptation process. Amusingly, Riggs has high spirits concerning this giant shake-up, and he recently took to social media to poke fun at fans clamoring for his (albeit temporary) return.
In the image above -- created using some craftily disturbing Photoshopping -- Chandler Riggs is having a laugh by joking that Carl will return to The Walking Dead in a similar way to how Sarah Wayne Callies' Lori returned as a ghostly memory following her brutal death. There's next to zero chances we'll actually see Chandler Riggs showing up in Season 8 rocking a white dress that matches his newest eye patch, but it's a fun thought. (If nothing else, this picture reminds me how lovely Callies' neck is, even if it looks super-bizarre with Riggs' head planted atop.)
Rick's audio and visual Lori hallucinations were a sign of his fractured and muddied mental state, but they tended to calm him and inspire positive feelings and ideas, so it was far less of a haunting than an eccentricity. His fugue state continued for quite a while after Lori's death, which was brought about during Judith's birth, and while some fans have hoped Rick would continue getting random phantom phone calls from Lori in later years, that side of Rick's psyche has largely been left behind. But does Riggs' post legitimately hint at ways for Carl to show up in the back half of Season 8 following his death?
Chandler Riggs himself confirmed that Carl's death, which will presumably go down in February's midseason premiere, will not be the character's last appearance. Fans will get to see him show up in "bits and pieces and memories" throughout the next eight episodes, and while we're sure that one of those moments will involve the faux Old Rick flash-forward from the premiere, what will the other moments be? Possibly some reused footage from seasons past, and possibly some unused footage from other scenes we've already seen, including the moment when he was actually bitten by a walker. But could we maybe expect to see Ghost Carl at any point? Could be. Just...with different clothes involved.
Carl's impending death is arguably The Walking Dead's most interesting concept in Season 8 so far, and the aftermath has been equally interesting. Chandler Riggs' dad, who is popular with some Walking Dead fans on social media, ripped into AMC and showrunner Scott Gimple for "firing" Riggs in such a way, though the actor himself hasn't offered any frankly contrarian views on his impending exit; he even explained why Gimple decided to kill Carl off. It should be interesting to see how things play out after that mid-year premiere airs, though, when Riggs can more easily speak freely about it all.
The Walking Dead will return to AMC for the rest of Season 8 on Sunday, February 25, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what other new and returning shows will be hitting the small screen in the meantime, head to our 2018 midseason premiere schedule.