The tumult surrounding the cast of AMC’s zombie groundbreaker The Walking Dead has led to a big shake-up over the past season, with Rick Grimes mysteriously departing the show not long after his son, Carl, was killed off. Rick actor Andrew Lincoln made his semi-exit decision himself and will return for a TWD TV movie trilogy, but Carl actor Chandler Riggs had less choice in the matter. The fallout from Riggs’ effective firing has been raging online since it happened, but Riggs has finally spoken up about his place in TWD’s decision.
Posting in response to a few comments on Reddit, Riggs explained that as he’s been rewatching his performances from the show, he agrees that “he wasn’t a strong enough actor to play the role.”
The actor wrote, “i think i was decent for the first few years, but i definitely got lazy when i should've utilized the writers giving me more material.” As Carl was a big part of the comics, forming the character around Riggs’ abilities could have been a factor alongside shaping the narrative for a TV audience. Riggs explained that he feels he “sucked when it mattered” but that it was due to his focus on schooling.
Riggs said, “for seasons 4-7 (and some of 8) i was putting the majority of my effort into school. not trying to toot my own horn here but i took like 10 ap classes throughout high school,” which he says is “super evident” in his “earlier lackluster performances.”
“In hindsight and in the best interest of the show,” Riggs wrote, “i do feel like if i didn't get killed off, things would not have gotten better on my end and twd might've been better off recasting carl. don't get me wrong i loved everything about playing carl and it would've been really awesome to play out all of those storylines, but i would have been juggling college and the show, and my performances would suffer because of it as shown when i was in high school.”
While Riggs concluded by explaining that his efforts refocused on his acting craft by the end of the show, it was an understandable decision by the creative team not to move forward with him as an actor. Do you think Carl simply should’ve been recast after the time jump? Or is The Walking Dead better off without him?