Chandler Riggs Reflects On Journey, Impact Through Eight Seasons On ‘The Walking Dead’

At the time it premiered on October 31, 2010, few could have seen AMC’s The Walking Dead going from a TV adaption of a popular comic book to a global phenomenon. TV ratings have been broken, the lines of television have been pushed, and many zombies have been ruthlessly slaughtered through the show’s first 99 episodes.

Chandler Riggs, one of only four actors remaining from that first season and one of only two to be in the pilot episode, “Days Gone Bye,” made sure to remind his fans how much he’s appreciated seven seasons, 99 episodes, and plenty of chocolate pudding.

Riggs — who at 18-years-old has spent close to half his life on The Walking Dead — acknowledged how the past eight years have changed his life and made him grateful for what the series has become. Initially cast at nine-years-old to play Carl Grimes and one of the only actors to have Atlanta roots, Riggs has become a fan favorite not only for his acting, but for how he’s handled stardom and the genuine relationships he’s built with cast members

While driving through Los Angeles on Monday afternoon, Riggs took to Twitter and, in a rare moment of emotion, reflected on what his life has become because of the popular zombie show.

Riggs has become known for showing emotion, usually glee when hosting live streams on Twitch.tv or interacting with fans at Comic-Con, but rarely has he opened up to this extent. Lasting so long on a popular show and seemingly never aging after his growth spurs in Seasons 1-5 makes it easy for fans to forget that not only is Riggs still barely an adult, but he’s someone that has literally grown up with the franchise.

Tom Payne, who plays Paul “Jesus” Rovia on The Walking Dead, replied to Riggs and wrote, “Yeah, Sunset Blvd billboards were a big milestone for me.”

Chandler Riggs is set to continue his role as Carl Grimes on The Walking Dead for Season 8, which premieres on October 22.

Riggs, along with many other cast members including Lincoln and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan), recently starred in a Robot Chicken parody of The Walking Dead titled “Look Who’s Walking.” Riggs takes on an exaggerated deeper voice to portray a much older version of Carl that is angry at how the world, having recovered from the zombie apocalypse, treats the near-extinction event as if it was a joke.

If early promotional material for The Walking Dead’s Season 8 is any indication, Riggs is set for his largest plot role in years. Factors that include Carl losing his eye, Season 7 taking more of a varied approach to handling the Negan threat from a storytelling perspective, and more have made Carl a background character in recent seasons.

In a scene for the 100th episode and season premiere that mimics the show’s pilot, Carl goes hunting for gas at an abounded gas station much like his father, Rick, did in “Days Gone Bye.”

When speaking to Entertainment Weekly last month, Andrew Lincoln said that if the show decided to move on from Rick Grimes as the main protagonist, he had the utmost faith Riggs could step into the role and enjoy great success.

“It’s beautifully set up for that — for the camera to be certainly his story, and then it just shifts off. If ever there was a landscape or an environment to do that, it’s our show. But whether or not that’s this season… well, you have to find out, don’t you?”

Carl and friends will look to take down Negan and The Saviors in an all-out war when Season 8 of The Walking Dead premieres on October 22.

[Featured Image by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for AMC]