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The Walking Dead’s Carl Might Be a Goner: Is He Leaving So Chandler Riggs Can Attend College?

After surviving a bullet wound in season 2 and the loss of an eyeball in season 6, The Walking Dead‘s Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) might have finally met the thing that’ll take him down for good: a ravenous, marauding, flesh-eating horde of … lawyers.

Related: PHOTOS: TV's 10 Most Shocking Deaths of the 2015-2016 Season

According to an Instagram post from William Riggs, aka the actor’s dad (who shares about his vicarious adventures under the handle @dadszombieroadtrip while Chandler makes The Walking Dead), the younger Riggs’ seven-year contract with the AMC series is officially fulfilled — and rather than hinting at the possibility of a new deal to remain on the show, Papa Riggs instead included a hashtag that has fans buzzing: #freedom.

Related: PHOTOS: The Walking Dead Stars: Before They Were Famous

Add to that the fact that Chandler recently sent out a celebratory tweet about being accepted to Auburn University, and people are beginning to speculate that the young actor will be departing his onscreen home for the past seven years in search of higher education.

Related: PHOTOS: The Walking Dead Cast: What They Look Like on the Red Carpet

Needless to say, there will never be a confirmation from father, son or the AMC bigwigs as to Carl’s fate; we’ll just have to wait and see if he bites the big one in an upcoming episode (or if the big one bites him, as the case may be). But within the context of the show, it’s possible that the producers have been subtly preparing us for Carl’s death all this time. Consider:

They’ve Been Teasing Carl’s Demise Practically Since Day One.

Much like The Walking Dead used Glenn’s multi-episode disappearance last season to kinda get fans used to the idea of him dying, Carl’s prior brushes with death in seasons 2 and 6 have led Us to think of him as living on borrowed time. If he gets offed before the season 7 finale, of course folks will be sad — but would anyone really be shocked?

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) - The Walking Dead
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes and Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes in ‘The Walking Dead.’

He’s Checking Items off His Bucket List.

After an iffy moment in his tween years when it looked like puberty might turn Carl into an actual serial killer, he’s actually become a fairly well-balanced young man — who’s this close to sealing the deal with fellow survivor Enid. And if you’re a teenage boy in zombie America, you definitely want to lose your V-card before you lose your life. Is The Walking Dead giving Carl the gift of love before it hands him the kiss of death?

He’s Itching for Confrontation.

As of the most recent episode, it’s clear that Carl is on a mission to find the Sanctuary and kill Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) — the kind of violent showdown he’s been trying to have with someone, anyone, since he first learned to shoot. As for Rick (Andrew Lincoln), who has been letting Negan boss him around so far, the death of his only son at the hands of the bat-wielding psychopath might be the one thing that galvanizes him to get back into ass-kicking murderer mode and give Negan the death he so richly deserves.

Tell Us: Do you think Carl will get written off the show, and would you miss him?

The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. 

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