One of the biggest shocks to take place on AMC's long-running zombie drama The Walking Dead was the death of Carl Grimes. In the middle of last season, Riggs was written out of the series, much to the surprise of the actor himself. After lasting on the series for nearly eight full seasons, Riggs has practically grown up on the show. The death of his character gave him no choice but to move on, but halfway through season 9, Riggs had made peace with his exit and continues to watch the series.
"It wasn't just Carl dying, it was also me leaving the show and kind of moving on to other things. So in many ways it was pretty symbolic just for the cast and crew, just for me to be leaving the show in the first place, it was a pretty big deal for all of us. And yeah, it sucked, and it was many long days, but I'm really happy with how it turned out and I'm really happy with my performances and I'm happy with how I left the show."
Carl's death is a major departure from the comic book series, where the character is still going strong. Chandler Riggs admits he was "really excited" to see more of Carl's story arcs play out on the small screen, and is now curious how they will fill the gap. Now just a fan of the show, Riggs says it was "kind of weird at first" being outside of the loop. However, the actor finds enjoyment in not knowing what's going to happen every week, speculating on what's coming next with other fans of the series.
In the middle of season 8, Carl was bitten by a walker while leading a stranger back to Alexandria. When the Saviors attacked, Carl managed to save everyone in the town by leading them underground. After revealing his bite to Rick and Michonne, Carl succumbed soon after in one of the most heartbreaking moments in the series. Rick himself would wind up being written out of the show as well a handful of episodes into season 9, although his story will continue in a trilogy of original movies to air on AMC.
Also leaving the show with Rick and Carl Grimes are millions of viewers of the series. Ratings have been falling at a tremendous rate since the start of season 7. In contrast to the falling ratings, however, are positive reviews for season 9 under new showrunner Angela Kang. With multiple movies and another companion series in the works at AMC, the network doesn't seem too worried about the show's future, although The Walking Dead still has yet to be officially renewed for season 10. AMC CEO Josh Sapan has said the plan is to keep the Walking Dead universe going for at least another ten years.
The Walking Dead is currently on hiatus, with new episodes resuming on Feb. 10, 2019. Viewership numbers will likely affect the future of the series, and it will interesting to see if Kang is able to reverse the downward trajectory. Riggs' comments come from San Jose Film Fest and were transcribed by ComicBook.com.