Of all the characters who became victims of the deleted scenes of “The Walking Dead”, Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) was the best. It seems that Grimes’ youngest man himself had more promising scenes cut from the final montage than any other character, and combined with Carl’s surprisingly early and unnecessary death, these deleted scenes seem like an even more terrible disservice to his character. The absence of these scenes was also a missed chance to improve Carl’s character and his relationships with others in the Walking Dead universe.
Carl Grimes was one of the longest-running characters in The Walking Dead, appearing as an original character in the first season of The Walking Dead and actively playing until his death in the eighth season. Starting with a little boy who grew up during the apocalypse, Carl has become a force to be reckoned with and a frequent moral compass. Carl fiercely cared for his family, worrying about the survival of others besides himself—a trait that eventually led to his demise. Unlike the Walking Dead comics, where Carl survives to the very end, former showrunner Scott M. Gimple decided that Carl needed to die to motivate Rick’s storyline. Carl’s death became one of the most shocking moments in The Walking Dead, causing a serious negative reaction from loyal fans after a serious deviation from the original comic material.
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With that in mind, each of Carl’s deleted scenes from “The Walking Dead” served as a great opportunity to flesh out his character. Scenes spanning the third to seventh seasons of The Walking Dead often depict Carl in an emotionally vulnerable state as he struggles with the reality of growing up in the apocalypse. The aftermath of his own mother’s murder, the connection between him and his father, and the ramifications of Negan’s attacks are all themes that disrupt the deleted scenes — and they would undoubtedly give Carl more depth as he ages. In fact, these scenes were windows into Karl’s heart and soul — with them, Karl’s character would feel much more versatile and better used.
How and why Carl should return in the last season of “The Walking Dead”
The only way to atone for the disservice done to Carl is to bring him back in the last season of The Walking Dead. Carl’s dream of the future was Rick’s driving force in building a better world, and the end of the story would be incomplete without mentioning the “dreamer” himself. Carl’s character was weakened and exhausted, which led to his demise, but the last season of “The Walking Dead” is the perfect chance for the show to correct the mistakes made against his character. Adding a flashback scene—especially emotionally motivated scenes like the ones that were deleted—would give the series a chance to reveal Carl’s character and pay tribute to him after his death.
While characters like Judith may have filled the empty role left by Carl, his character deserves a decent ending. Carl wasn’t just Rick’s heart; he was the soul of Alexandria and beyond, and he managed to warm even the harshest souls, including Negan. While everyone else was focused on surviving in the present, Carl was always focused on creating a future worth living for. To see “The Walking Dead” achieve the future Carl dreamed of without his return would be a real disservice to his character, especially since he was the biggest victim of the montage from the very beginning.