Despite the questionable actions of characters like Rick and even Daryl this season, the one character who seems to receive the most flak from fans is Carl the one-eyed, rootin' tootin' cowboy.
Sure, Carl eats too much chocolate pudding and inadvertently caused the death of Dale that one time, but the boy we first met way back in Season 1 has come a long way, growing into a valuable team asset.
Check out the evolution of Carl's character in the clip below:
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It's a shame then that actor Chandler Riggs is now rumored to leave #TheWalkingDead after revealing on social media that he's been accepted into university. The implication that Carl may hang up his sheriffs hat for university fits with the current direction of his character, as it looks like he's about to make some reckless decisions in his quest for revenge against Negan. However, what if this is all a misdirect?
What Lies In Store For Carl?
While the comics are somewhat ahead of the show in terms of narrative, new fan art by artist M.J. Hiblen skips forward decades further, predicting that Carl will play an even more prominent role in years to come.
Negan may still be alive in the comics, but it doesn't look like he'll survive forever if Carl's new choice of weapon is anything to go by. That's right, guys. As if he didn't look bad ass enough here, the fact that Carl's holding that baseball bat suggests that he could finally take his revenge on Negan and claim Lucille as his own.
Anyone who hoped that Carl wouldn't survive the season should reconsider after seeing Hiblen's work. If there's even a remote possibility that Rick's son could outlive everyone and become this bad ass warrior, then we're down with The Walking Dead continuing for years to come.
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Could Carl Defeat Negan?
It's hard to imagine the young man-boy succeeding where the likes of Daryl and his father Rick have failed — but is there a chance that Carl could take on Negan and win? In the comics, the leader of the Saviors strikes up a bizarre interest in Carl, cultivating a friendship of sorts that suggests Negan sees him as a potential successor.
In the Season 7 premiere, Negan's TV counterpart seemed impressed by Carl's tenacity, sowing the seeds for future parallels between the show and the original source material. However, AMC's take on the saga often strays from the comic books, which means that we could very well see Carl exploit his budding friendship with Negan, eventually using it to take him out completely on the show.
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Of course, we'd probably have to wait until Season 20 for this scenario to unfold, but whether The Walking Dead ever reaches this point or not, it would be genuinely impressive if Carl ever managed to defeat Negan. After the majority of fans predicted who would die in the Season 7 premiere long before it aired, The Walking Dead needs to take chances and surprise audiences like never before. Watching Negan die through the eyes (well, eye) of a teenager could be the way to go.
Could Carl eventually defeat Negan and claim Lucille as his own?
(Source — M.J. Hiblen)