The Walking Dead has tried and failed to get one over on fans before, but might be close to its biggest trick yet. According to creator Robert Kirkman, the show’s imminent and most shocking demise might not be so fatal after all. Slim hope, but we’ll take it.

You’re warned of complete spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 8 from here on out, but – if you hadn’t heard – last year’s midseason finale made perhaps the show’s most shocking swerve from comic canon; a death sentence for Chandler Riggs’ Carl. The character was revealed as bitten in “How It’s Gotta Be,” while producers and stars alike have spoken to the February 25 premiere serving as Carl’s last appearance. Or will it? Ever one to play coy, creator Robert Kirkman suggested during a recent Walker Stalker Cruise (h/t ComicBook) that Carl’s fate wasn’t exactly set in stone:

He’s not dead yet. He might not die. You never know. But I think if, were that to happen, I think that it would have some interesting ramifications on Rick, that I think would energize and really kind of set things in motion in a really interesting way leading to the resolution of All Out War in a way that will make for a very exciting back half to season 8, so I think it’s going to be really cool.

Granted, the second half of that quote seems to be Kirkman acknowledging that writers have planned a large chunk of story around Carl’s exit, so miraculous survival by scar tissue likely isn’t in the cards. It would also make impressive theatre of the actor’s father publicly voicing his displeasure with the network for such a brief stunt. And either way, who is Carl without all that hair?

Riggs’ might not be the only imminent departure from The Walking Dead, so watch the latest trailers for the February 25 premiere below and stay tuned.

Gallery: The Worst ‘Walking Dead’ Death Scenes, Ranked

More From 95.3 The Bear