Chandler Riggs' Walking Dead exit came as a surprise: the now 18-year-old actor, who plays Carl Grimes, didn't find out his character would be killed off until just before cameras rolled on episode 8x06.
Speaking to ET Live, Riggs said producer and former showrunner Scott M. Gimple "didn't mention" Carl's death in a meeting with the Riggs clan ahead of season 8.
"Usually he doesn't bring me in with my parents, usually," Riggs said. "I had actually talked with him months before, just like to lay out the season and everything, but he didn't mention that."
Asked if Gimple didn't yet have the Carl plot twist in mind, Riggs answered, "I think he did, I think he knew what he wanted to do, but he just wasn't sure yet."
"But I think, yeah," he added, "by then he kind of made up his mind."
Despite his time with the show coming to an abrupt end, Riggs said it "just kind of made sense" for Carl's death to happen "for the story and everyone else's story."
"Especially for my career, too," he added. "It really sucked to be off the show, but I had such a great time, it was really, really awesome. Eight years, its definitely an experience I don't regret."
Riggs told ComicBook.com he's okay with being off the show, calling his time with the hit zombie series "an experience that I'll never forget."
In December, Riggs told The Hollywood Reporter it wasn't his decision to leave the show, admitting he "didn't expect for Carl to ever get killed off."
According to Riggs, he had just purchased a house near the show's Senoia, Georgia set, only to be told during rehearsals for episode six — the episode that gives Carl his fatal walker bite — that Carl would be killed off.
"I was planning on going to college until I found out. I found out when I was doing rehearsals for episode six back in June," Riggs said. "It was quite the shocker for me, Andy [Lincoln] and everyone because I don't think anyone saw it coming."
"Scott wanted to meet in person because it was such a big deal," he explained. "We had just finished rehearsing for a scene in episode six and he wanted to meet with me and my mom and dad and talk about what's going to happen."
Riggs' father, William Riggs, blasted Gimple in a December Facebook post that has since been deleted.
"Watching Gimple fire my son 2 weeks before his 18th birthday after telling him they wanted him for the next 3 years was disappointing," Riggs wrote.
"I never trusted Gimple or AMC but Chandler did. I know how much it hurt him. But we do absolutely know how lucky we have been to be a part of it all and appreciate all the love from fans all these years!"
Gimple has since been promoted to Chief Creative Officer to oversee The Walking Dead brand for AMC. Producer and writer Angela Kang, who has been with the series since its second season in 2011, will assume Gimple's position as showrunner for season 9.
Carl will be killed off in tonight's mid-season premiere, "Honor," directed by series veteran Greg Nicotero.1comments
ComicBook.com's After the Dead will have an exclusive interview with Nicotero following the mid-season premiere at 10:22 pm ET on ComicBook NOW's Facebook page and ComicBook.com Orginals' YouTube channel.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.