Former The Walking Dead Star Chandler Riggs “Could Not Be More Happy” with New TV Role

Chandler Riggs “could not be more happy” with his role as Patrick ‘PJ’ Nelson on ABC drama A Million Little Things, Riggs’ first television gig since ending his eight-season tenure as Carl Grimes in The Walking Dead Season 8.

“PJ, he’s this kid with kind of this troubled background. He’s lived most of his life with a great relationship with his dad, and he’s just found out some information at the end of the last season that may kind of make his whole world fall apart,” Riggs told The Permanent Rain Press. “And as we learned, he’s Barbara Morgan’s son, and there’s a lot of baggage that comes with that, for sure, as we will see starting right off in [episode] 201. So I’m so excited for you guys to see it.”

Riggs added he was “so happy” after series creator and producer D.J. Nash said on Twitter Riggs is “a big part” of Season 2.

“When I got that email, I was like, ‘Oh man, this is great,’ because I loved being [in Vancouver] for those couple of episodes at the end of last season,” Riggs said. “And I couldn’t wait to get to meet more of the cast and the crew and everything, and it’s been so amazing being up here so far and shooting with such an amazing family of a cast. It’s really, really great, I could not be more happy to be here.”

A Million Little Things also gives Riggs more of a chance to flex dramatic muscles after zombie drama The Walking Dead put less focus on Carl than its comic book source material, where Carl was a more prominent figure who lived through the end of the book.

“Most of my scenes in Walking Dead were with the rest of the cast, so I had maybe a couple of lines a day. And for this, the majority of the times that I’m working, I’m in most of the scenes every day. And every scene that I’m in, I have a substantial amount of dialogue, and I actually get to really push my limits as an actor,” Riggs said. “It deals with so many issues that I haven’t had to deal with before. It’s not living in an apocalypse or worrying about killing people, I’m worrying about lots of other things. And it’s great to really play a character that’s so true to so many people, and I can’t wait for people to really get to know PJ and connect with him.”

Riggs was just as surprised to learn PJ is the son of Barbara (Drea de Matteo) and Dave (Edward Ruttle), a victim of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and not firefighter Mitch (The Walking Dead alum Rhys Coiro) as believed.

“I was trying to figure out where my character kind of fit in, and [Nash] told me that my character was going to be Barbara Morgan’s son, and I was like ‘Oh, wow. That is insane because it makes so much more sense as to how it's tied in [to] everybody else’s story,’” Riggs previously told TV Guide.

Nash also told TV Guide the story with PJ will be juxtaposed against the situation facing Delilah (Stephanie Szostak) and Eddie (David Giuntoli).

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“What I love about our show is that more than one character deals with a similar theme at the same time. We can see how they deal with it similarly or differently. So, the last thing Delilah does is she looks to the kitchen before she leaves, and she sees a father, a mother, and a child, who's been told a lie,” Nash said. “That’s their reality, and it's not a coincidence that she and Eddie and their baby are dealing with a similar dilemma. So I really want to juxtapose those, and have those women continue to know each other in Season 2. You know, for PJ, in some ways, PJ will be the cautionary tale for Delilah and Eddie, by how they decide to play this.”

A Million Little Things Season 2 premieres Thursday, Sept. 26 at 9/8c on AMC. The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres Sunday, Oct. 6 at 9/8c on AMC. For TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.