Finally, 'The Walking Dead' and its eighth season has returned to the small screen, but with it has confirmed the death of one of the show's leading characters; Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs). The decision to kill off Carl was a hugely shocking one, leading to online petitions from a vocal portion of fans, mass hysteria amongst some of the viewers, and a lot of mystery surrounding the future of the show.

Scott Gimple will exit his role as showrunner following 'The Walking Dead' season 8Scott Gimple will exit his role as showrunner following 'The Walking Dead' season 8

Outgoing showrunner Scott Gimple seems to be the man to have pulled the metaphorical trigger on Carl's time on the show, but it's a decision that the comic book creator Robert Kirkman has stood firmly alongside. It may deviate wildly from the narrative being told on the pages of the graphic novels, but it's certainly lit a fire in the bellies of those behind-the-scenes.

Carl showed off a zombie bite to the abdomen in the first half of season 8, immediately showing that his exit would be right around the corner. This wasn't a limb that could be removed to stop the infection. So why exactly did Gimple and co. decide to change the plot when it comes to the AMC series?

Speaking with TV Line, the showrunner explained: "We wanted to tell a version of the comic story that kept emotions similar to what you’d get when reading the [source material] but in different ways, so that the comic-book-reading audience didn’t expect what was going to happen. We plan to do that moving forward as well — sometimes pulling moments from the book in sort of verbatim ways and sometimes in ways that are very different, with the goal of heightening the message in some way. Carl’s death fell into that [category]. This in many ways is sort of the ending of an era for The Walking Dead and the starting of a new one."

Whether or not everybody is behind the move that's been made, Carl is gone and 'The Walking Dead' will have to adapt. Incoming showrunner Angela Kang, who'll take the reins from Gimple when the series makes its return for a ninth season, has her work cut out for her if she's to keep the fan base happy deep into the future. It's going to be an interesting couple of years.

More: 'The Walking Dead' Showrunner Promises "Incredible Impact" Following Carl's Death

'The Walking Dead' season 8 continues Sundays in the US on AMC and Mondays in the UK on FOX.