Now that fans are preparing to watch a monumental episode of The Walking Dead tonight, many fans are wondering just how closely the show is currently following the comics. Does Carl die in the comics? Read on to find out. This post has spoilers for the midseason finale of The Walking Dead, which aired in December, and spoilers for The Walking Dead comics.
The show is taking a huge departure from the comics. At the end of the midseason finale, Carl revealed to Rick that he had been bitten. What appeared to be a zombie bite was on his stomach, and Carl looked very sick. It’s hard to imagine any situation where Carl can somehow survive that and not die. It looks like his days are numbered.
But this is very different from what happened in the comics. Carl did not die in the comics. The midseason finale took place around issue #119 of the comics, when Negan visited Alexandria. Prior to this, many parts of Carl’s life in the comics tracked with the show. Rick bit a bandit’s neck to save Carl’s life, just like in the show. Carl gets pretty dark in some parts of the comics. He loses his eye, just like he did in the show. And he tries to take on Negan himself — also unsuccessfully. (Carl and Rick played more of a role in Glenn’s death in the comics, and Maggie blamed Rick for what happened. In the show, Daryl blamed himself instead.)
In the comics, Carl and Negan develop a strange sort of bond. We actually see hints of that happening in the show too, but it looks like it’s going to be cut short. In the show, the “All Out War” storyline looks like it’s going to include Carl’s death. In the comics, Carl survives the “All Out War” storyline. In fact, Carl goes on to play a pretty big, central role in a storyline that takes place in the comics after the “All Out War” story ends. That’s left fans really unsure about what the show plans to do, or if the show is just going to leave the comics’ storyline completely.
So no, as of the latest issue of the comics, Carl isn’t dead. He’s still very much alive, central to a big storyline, and growing into a confident man who also harbors darkness. In fact, some people think he may be one of the more interesting characters in the comics. And he definitely could have grown into that role in the show too. But now it looks like he’s not going to survive. If he does die, it’s unclear who could possibly take his place.