“I mean, yeah, I was looking forward to a lot of the storylines, specifically with Lydia because it was just such a unique storyline for Carl and it meant so much to the storyline,” Riggs admitted during Walker Stalker Cruise 2019.
“But it’s all good, I’m on ABC,” the 19-year-old actor added with a smile, citing his new role on the network’s hit drama series A Million Little Things.
Riggs’ Carl was killed off midway through Season Eight. His unfulfilled comic book storyline has since been handed off to Henry (Matt Lintz), now embroiled in a Romeo and Juliet-like romance with Lydia despite the danger posed by her abusive and psychotic mother Alpha (Samantha Morton).
Riggs previously confessed at Walker Stalker Con Orlando in September he was “actually really excited for the rest of Carl’s story arcs,” and later lamented the missed opportunity to explore Carl without his father Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), whose disappearance launched a six-year time skip.
“I think he definitely would take on this, if Rick wasn’t in the picture anymore, I think Carl would definitely take on this, I guess, just the older brother role, and really take care of [his siblings], and do what he’s been doing — or do what he was doing — for the years that he spent with Judith,” Riggs said at San Jose Fan Fest in December.
“I honestly don’t really know what he’d be like, but it would have been really interesting to see.”
Part of Carl’s divvied up comic book story was handed off to younger half-sister Judith (Cailey Fleming), who inherited comic book Carl’s dynamic with a jailed Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
“As with every season of the show, there’s a certain amount of stuff from the comic that we follow relatively faithfully, but really more in terms of orange cones in the stories, is kind of how we think about it,” showrunner Angela Kang previously told Deadline of adaptations and deviations.
“Like, oh here are these moments that we want to try to adapt, but a lot of times the routes that we take go into different directions.”
Though Henry — created for the show in Season Seven — is now carrying Carl’s major role in the ongoing conflict with the Whisperers, Kang is clear Henry is his own character with his own destiny.
“There’s nobody that’s going to exactly replace Carl. Carl is his own character, but there are definitely plotlines from the comic that we didn’t want to completely lose. Henry just organically would be with this time jump about the age of Carl in the comics. There were certain aspects that we felt play well with Henry, especially because Carol is now that parent.”
Henry’s role and troublesome romance also positions adoptive mother Carol (Melissa McBride) to assume a role Rick filled in the comics when brought into conflict with Alpha. Though The Walking Dead will ebb and flow at its own pace, certain comic book beats and shockers are expected to find their way into the live-action adaptation.
“Obviously, all of that plays differently because Henry is a different kind of kid in the show than Carl was in the comic at this point,” Kang continued.
“He’s had a different upbringing. He’s had a bit of a sheltered life. He’s also faced different kinds of things. We just wanted to make sure that anything that we take from the comic that maybe once was part of Carl’s storyline, it’s a little different when you have Henry playing it. We don’t intend for it to be exactly the same.”
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
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