Chandler Riggs, who played longtime The Walking Dead survivor Carl Grimes for nearly eight full seasons, says he’s “satisfied” with the way his character went out.
Asked if he was happy with Carl’s death during a Q&A session at Fandemic Tour Sacramento this past weekend, the 19-year-old actor said he initially wasn’t, because executive producer and then-showrunner Scott Gimple didn’t mention the Saviors’ explosive attack on Alexandria seen in 8x08.
“I’m gonna be honest, when Scott told me how it happened, he didn’t mention the whole ‘Saviors blowing up all of Alexandria’ thing,” Riggs said. “He just kind of said I went to hide in the sewers and just die. I was like, ‘man, that does not sound cool at all.’”
“But then, when I read episode eight, and I was like, ‘oh, okay, there’s huge explosions, there’s solar panels being blown up, churches blown up, houses exploding,’” Riggs said. “I was like, ‘okay, that’s pretty cool, I’m satisfied.’”
The Walking Dead season 8’s mid-season finale saw Carl take charge as Alexandria came under fire by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors, who lobbed bombs over the community’s walls while leader Rick (Andrew Lincoln) was away.
Carl — already suffering the effects of a soon-to-be-fatal walker bite — evacuated the Alexandrians to the sewers below, later having a quiet moment with dad Rick and surrogate mom Michonne (Danai Gurira) before choosing to shoot himself in the head before he could fully succumb to his walker-inflicted wound.
During his time at the convention, Riggs also detailed how he found out Carl would be killed off, admitting he found out last minute — only learning of Carl’s looming fate during rehearsals on episode 8x06, where the teen receives his bite during a scuffle with a small pack of the flesh-eating zombies.
Riggs has joked about Carl’s death on social media, but holds no ill will towards the AMC series.
“I joke about it, but I'm not really bitter about it,” Riggs told ComicBook.com of Carl’s demise.
“It's more like an innocent way to go out. That's kind of what Carl is really embodying in these last two episodes and really just kind of sums up Carl as a whole and proves that he knows that there is something after the war, it's not just killing and killing and killing and killing. There's got to be some sort of hope for Judith and for Maggie's baby and everyone.”
Riggs most recently received a Saturn Award, his third, for his final performances as Carl Grimes. The actor has since lined up other acting gigs in crime-drama Inherit the Viper and sci-fi Only, and has turned his focus to producing electronic music.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with its ninth season this fall.