Fans of The Walking Dead may not be thrilled about the imminent departure of original character Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), but at least the boy’s getting a proper sendoff. EW has confirmed that the show’s midseason premiere, which is expected to feature Carl’s death, will run for 82 minutes rather than the standard 60-minute runtime. Make sure to set your recordings accordingly.
Since it was revealed on The Walking Dead‘s midseason finale that Carl was bitten by a walker, several people have voiced their displeasure over the loss of the character many assumed to be the future of the show. Riggs’ father was one, as was costar Norman Reedus, who told EW, “I was desperately unhappy about that. I’ve seen Chandler grow up from a little boy. I’ve known that kid so long, and it always hurts when you lose a family member on the show. Chandler is definitely a family member to me. I was not happy about it. I always thought Chandler would be the last man standing, to be honest.”
One reason the Carl twist came as such a shock is that the character is still alive and well in the long-running comic book upon which the show is based. But The Walking Dead creator and comic writer Robert Kirkman assured EW that the loss of Carl won’t change future storylines very much. “There are big, huge stories coming up that you might think will be massively altered because of the absence of Carl,” he said. “But we have known these story lines have been coming for years. There are plans in place to make it all work. The loss of Carl doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to be losing big swaths of the comic book story. It means that there will be some differences to them. The goal is that those differences will be as exciting to the audience as they are to me.”
The Walking Dead returns Feb. 25 on AMC.