Fan theories have been swirling about that the next major character to die on “The Walking Dead” will be the teenage Carl Grimes, Rick’s son who has all too quickly grown up before our eyes on the show. According to Hollywood Take, the actor who plays the now one-eyed lad, Chandler Riggs, is off to college. Taking on a full course load and appearing in an episodic TV show with location shoots would be difficult to manage. Also, Riggs is somewhat coy as to whether his contract has been renewed for Season 8.

Some spoilers may follow.

To be sure, Carl has come as close to dying as anyone on the show has in the second to last episode of “The Walking Dead” for 2016. He slipped into the Savior compound in the back of a supply truck with the idea of pumping Negan, the mad, bad and dangerous to know war lord who has the entire region in thrall, full of lead. Carl fully expected to die, succeed or fail. The act was a remarkable gesture of self-sacrifice for someone so young.

However, so far, Carl gets to live if only for the fact that Negan, whom he failed to kill, is impressed by his moxie.

One suspects that the insane man with the bat is finding that most interactions with people involved a lot of bowing, scraping and begging for mercy a little tedious. So he is enchanted that someone on this planet has the moxie to stand up to him, try to take him out, and then take the attitude of “do your worse!” when he fails.

Being a kid in the zombie apocalypse is to be cheated of some of the ordinary joys of life.

Carl never got to stay out too late with his friends, fall in love with a girl for the first time, graduate high school, contemplate a career. What he got instead was to run from one dubious safe haven to another in the company of his increasingly insane father. Plus he had to kill his own mother to spare her becoming a flesh eating creature. He has had one of his eyes torn out. He has even been denied a glorious death, saving his family and friends from Negan.

Indeed, at the end of the episode, he gets to watch the madman dandle his baby half-sister Judith on his knee, acting like a doting uncle, wondering if at any moment he is going to dash the baby’s brains out on a whim.

Death, in that case, may be welcome for the unhappy Carl Grimes.

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