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The Walking Dead's Carl May Be In For A World Of Pain

Potential spoilers for The Walking Dead below.

When Season 6 of The Walking Dead shambles up later this month, Rick and the rest of the survivors have a ton of stuff to worry about, both from outside threats like walker herds and from inner threats like differences in ideals. And one character sounds like he could be headed for a particularly gruesome (though non-deadly) fate: Carl Grimes.

Comic book fans know that Carl experiences some eye-opening things in Alexandria (pun intended) when the giant zombie herd takes over the formerly safe haven and he gets shot in the face, leaving a gaping hole in his head that causes health complications and takes a while to heal. We’ve been wondering if the show would follow Robert Kirkman’s original plan for Carl, and showrunner Scott Gimple has finally addressed the issue.

We don’t know if anybody’s losing their eye. This is not A Christmas Story…There are some things we can’t do that were in the comic. Rick losing his hand – there’s also another big TV show that did it recently.

Both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Game of Thrones have characters who lost their hands, although Rick’s prominent role in The Walking Dead is different from those characters, and it would definitely be a challenge for Andrew Lincoln and everyone else to keep that going. But having Carl lose an eye would not be that difficult for the creative team to put together, especially if it mostly involved him just wearing bandages around his head. Or not.

the walking dead

Though that particular quote doesn’t make Gimple sound like he’s all that interested in turning Carl into a cyclops in the near future, he also told EW something that strengthens my hopes that the moody teen will finally get a plotline that matters.

There are other things we can and will do. There is a balance to be struck. If it is stuff that’s really important to serve the character, we need to try and do it. It’s also just if we can pull it off on a consistent basis in a great way. There’s stuff we can do, there’s stuff we can’t do. I would never tell you what it is.

Love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny that Carl is one of the only characters on The Walking Dead that doesn’t really have much guiding him narrative-wise. Sure, he’s got the guilt of having killed his own mother, and he has to follow Rick without necessarily agreeing with everything he does. But in the comics, losing his eye gives Carl a huge boost in the personality department and turns him into an adult, which makes him stand out among the other teenagers in Alexandria and beyond. It’s always possible that Gimple and Kirkman could change things up by giving him a different kind of injury resulting in the same character development, but I’ll be pissed if we don’t get to see Greg Nicotero give Carl a massive face crater.

One thing’s for sure, Carl will have his entire body intact when The Walking Dead Season 6 premieres on AMC on Sunday, October 11.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

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.