Why Didn’t Carl Shoot Negan When He Had The Chance?

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One common thread in a recent episode of The Walking Dead was the quest to kill Negan. Carl, Rosita, and Michonne all set off on separate attempts, but Carl was the only one who got close to pulling it off.

After being discovered by one of the Saviors in the back of a supply truck, Carl opened fire. He was easily taken down though and ended up spending the entire episode bizarrely mentored by Negan. For actor Chandler Riggs, it was a thrilling episode to film — especially playing off of actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan.

Making Up Is Hard To Do

Negan and Carl on The Walking Dead
Image Credit: AMC

“It was awesome,” says Riggs. “Jeffrey is such a cool guy. It’s easy to play off him because he does such an amazing job. I’ve been looking forward to this storyline for years now, because I’m a big fan of the comics and to finally get to make this come to life was really cool. The hardest part to endure was the extreme makeup rounds [with Carl’s missing eye]. The first couple of test runs we did took like three to four hours to put it all on and we were able to get it down to an hour each day.”

For viewers, Carl’s mission seemed extremely foolhardy. What exactly did he hope to accomplish? Did he really think he could kill Negan without consequences?

Suicide Squad

“He for sure wanted to kill Negan,” says Riggs. “The moment he left, he knew it was a suicide mission because he didn’t expect to survive. He didn’t expect to kill Negan; he thought he’d either be taken prisoner or be killed. That scene in episode five was the final goodbye for him. He knows that and he was prepared to sacrifice his life to kill Negan.”

It’s a bit surprising to hear that Carl expected to die. He surely knew it was a possibility, but it almost seemed he hadn’t given it much thought before rushing in.

The Cost Of A Life

Before he was tackled by Dwight, Carl had a clear opportunity to shoot and kill Negan. Riggs says there’s a very practical reason why he didn’t.

“In the moment, he only has one eye so he knows if he does fire, he’ll miss or Negan will duck behind other Saviors,” says Riggs. “After he kills two Saviors, he says, “No one else needs to die.

It shows that he realized that these are people, too. They have lives and their own relationships. A lot of times, they do bad things but it’s ultimately Negan who coordinates the whole thing. So for Carl, the fewer people dying, the better.”

Some people have argued that Carl should have just mowed down all of the Saviors, Negan included. Carl is not most people, though. After all he’s been through, Carl still knows the value of a human life. The question now is whether Rosita and Michonne will remember that lesson.

What do you think about Carl’s reasoning? Was he smart to have spared Negan or should he have taken him down?


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