A petition asking for The Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple to be fired following the midseason finale has gathered over 28,000 signatures. In the final moments of the midseason finale of The Walking Dead, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) was both shocked and horrified to discover that his son Carl (Chandler Riggs) was bitten by a zombie. The decision to kill a character with such a vital role on the show has prompted much outrage from the fans.
During the special 90-minute episode that aired Sunday night, Carl continued to take issue with his father’s approach to thoughtlessly killing Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors. Believing that there was a better way to live that didn’t involve killing, Carl went against his father’s wishes and tried to save a survivor named Siddiq (Avi Nash). During Negan’s attack on Alexandria, Carl gave a heartfelt speech about being willing to die to save both the Saviors and the people of Alexandria from killing each other. At the end of the episode, we learned that Carl already knew he was going to die. Carl pulled up his shirt, revealing a zombie bite.
Over 28,000 signatures have been added to a petition started by Tyler Sigmon calling for the firing of Gimple, who has served as showrunner since season 4. Sigmon writes that Gimple should be fired by AMC for “the unfair treatment of Chandler Riggs” and for killing off a character that was being set up to eventually succeed Rick as leader of the community.
Though it was well-known that Riggs had plans to attend college, Riggs revealed Carl’s death was not his decision. According to Riggs, Gimple decided that Carl needed to die in order to best serve the story. Gimple believed that Carl’s death was the only thing to get Rick into the mindset of his comic book counterpart, who eventually decides to take a different path and let Negan live.
Riggs’ father says he was disappointed to see his son “fired“ from the show by Gimple, two weeks before his 18th birthday. He also claims that he never trusted AMC or Gimple, but his son did.
Though Carl’s death is certainly the biggest death the show has ever seen, other deaths since Gimple became showrunner have generated their share of controversy. Fans were critical of the handling of the deaths of the two young girls in season 4, and protested when Beth (Emily Kinney) was killed in season 5. Up until Sunday night, the most important character to die on the show was Glenn (Steven Yeun).