[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already read The Walking Dead comic or are okay knowing about events that may possibly happen to characters coming up in season 6.]
The Walking Dead TV show follows the same basic story as The Walking Dead comic book on which it is based. But not everything is the same. Showrunner Scott M. Gimple calls it “remixing” the source material. Certain events that happen in the comic book may happen earlier in the timeline of the show. Or later. Or they may happen to someone completely different — like the way Hershel was decapitated at the prison on TV instead of Tyreese. Or they may not happen at all. Carol is dead in the comic and still alive on the show while Andrea is the exact opposite. So go figure.
With this in mind, we asked Gimple about a big moment potentially on the horizon for one of the major characters. Just in case you missed the huge SPOILER ALERT at the top of the article, now is a good time to stop reading if you don’t want to know about possible events coming up. Last chance. Continuing in 3 … 2 … 1 …
Okay, proceeding now. In the comic around this time, a giant herd of zombies infiltrates Alexandria, causing panic, hysteria, and yes, death. There is also a gruesome injury to one of the main characters. In the mayhem, Carl is shot — right in the eye. Because of the severity and permanency of the injury, we wondered: Is this the type of thing they would ever do on the show? After all, Comic Book Rick Grimes loses a hand early on, but the TV version wisely weighed the drama of that event against the logistical nightmare it would present going forward and skipped it completely. TV Rick’s hands are just fine … except when he beats someone to a bloody pulp, in which case they get a bit sore.
Taking Carl’s eye would certainly not be as logistically difficult as taking his dad’s hand, but it’s also not something to be done lightly. There’s also the fact that we already had the big moment when the Governor lost his eye in season 3. Might another eye loss feel a bit repetitive? We asked Gimple what the internal conversations had been like about this huge event perhaps happening in season 6. “We don’t know if anybody’s losing their eye,” says Gimple. “This is not A Christmas Story.”
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However the showrunner talked seriously about the process of deciding which big events like this make the leap from page to screen. “There are some things we can’t do that were in the comic,” says Gimple. “Rick losing his hand — there’s also another big TV show that did it recently.”
We assume he’s talking about Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones with the hand thing. It should also be noted that Gotham last season had Fish Mooney take out her own eyeball and stomp on it, so there are other examples of that as well. (Shows are so violent these days.) “There are other things we can and will do,” continues Gimple. “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.”
No, he won’t. But what do you think? Will the show be bold enough to take away Carl’s eye in season 6? Or will it happen to someone else entirely, or not happen at all? Place your bets, and keep an eye — if not two — on season 6 for the answer.
Check out a video below of the cast talking about which of them would die first in a real zombie apocalypse. And for more Walking Dead intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.