Spoilers below for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
When The Walking Dead kicked off "The Lost and the Plunderers," viewers watched as Rick and Michonne were making moves to put Alexandria in the rear view mirror. (Probably not forever.) That process included spending a few final seconds at Carl's grave, which was marked by a cross made from two thin branches. When Rick hung Carl's gun from the marker, some comic fans likely noticed things looked a little familiar to something from the source material: Shane's grave.
TV Shane and Comic Shane didn't share the exact same story path or anything, but neither one of them made it very far into the narrative. In the comics, Carl was protecting Rick when he shot Shane through the throat, and when the semi-villain was buried, they used the same kind of bound-together sticks to make a cross. The big different was that it was Shane's police hat that was hung on the grave marker, and not a gun. Still a meaningful item though, obviously.
Here's the appropriate shot from The Walking Dead #7.
A connection like this could easily be explained away as a coincidence, considering lots of Walking Dead graves are marked by makeshift crosses. However, the significance of something hanging off of the side is key here, and comic creator Robert Kirkman acknowledged and confirmed that Carl's grave was indeed an intentional callback to Shane's final resting place. As he put it on Sunday night's Talking Dead:
While the visual reference likely wasn't meant to convey much beyond a fun easter egg, the particulars here are interesting. Carl and Shane were buddies both before and after the walker outbreak happened, though Shane's attempts to carry on a relationship with Lori after Rick's return soured everyone. And it was later revealed that Shane is actually Judith's father, which adds the strangest wrinkle to this homage. Now if you need me, I'll be busy trying to spread rumors about how this reference definitely indicates that Shane is actually Carl's father, too.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. Check out our thoughts on how Rick and Negan's situation may be resolved, as well as why Jadis and her junkyard are so important now. To see what other new and returning shows are on the way soon, head to our midseason premiere schedule.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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