On this week's episode of #TheWalkingDead, "Go Getters," the spotlight shined bright on a couple of different characters that haven't had much attention since the gruesome season premiere. We got to catch up with Maggie and Sasha and see how they were doing since the recent loss of their loved ones and how they were holding up at the Hilltop. While the episode had most of its focus on those two, Carl was also a prominent character in the episode.
Carl's character doesn't shy away from adulthood as he drives a car (even if it wasn't great driving) and had his first kiss with his friend, Enid. After having to watch Glenn and Abraham get their skulls bashed in by the wrath of Negan and his bat Lucille, Carl is determined in one thing: Killing Negan. At the end of the episode, we see Carl follow his comic book path as he hops into one of the Savior's trucks along with Jesus.
While there's also a lot going on with Carl's character, there's even more going on with the actor who portrays him, Chandler Riggs, outside of The Walking Dead. A collection of recent events have had fans of the show debating whether or not Riggs would be leaving the show, which would mean killing off another long-standing character this season.
Is Chandler Riggs Leaving the Show?
Many signs are pointing towards the conclusion that Chandler Riggs will be leaving The Walking Dead this season. The first reason is for sure a big one. As some of you know, I am a senior in high school and I am currently in the process of applying to and choosing a college. Chandler Riggs is my age and will be following most senior's footsteps and be going to college. Earlier this month, Chandler revealed to the world that he will be attending Auburn University.
While Chandler heading off to college is a clear sign to some fans that he will be leaving the series, some others think differently. Auburn University is located in Alabama and is about an hour and a half away from Atlanta, where The Walking Dead is shot. Of course, Chandler could definitely commute from college but this it would be a chaotic process in terms of scheduling and no matter what, it would limit the amount of screen time our favorite one-eyed, long-haired friend will have moving forward if they decide to keep him alive.
College is always a tough life decision for actors and actresses, especially ones who are involved with big projects. They have to decide whether or not an education is worth it to drop what they are doing and go to a college for four years or continue their career and building their resume. Another hint suggested by social media came from Riggs' father, William, on his Facebook page. William stated that Chandler's seven year contract is complete and that he is very proud of him:
The original post was actually deleted shortly after it was posted and read:
"7 year contract completed! Grateful to AMC, Cast & Crew, TWD fan base and especially Chandler for always being 100% dedicated. Whether it was getting up at 4AM, working in the freezing cold past 2AM, leaving his friends and carefree kiddom behind, scrambling to make up missed schoolwork, he has done it without complaint and always made me proud & amazed to be his dad!"
A lot of the actors on The Walking Dead are currently in re-negotiations of their contracts. In fact, Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus supposedly just renewed their contracts with AMC for an eighth season. Whether or not Chandler Riggs will be renewing his contract or not is not confirmed yet. However, if this news doesn't scare you already and if you believe that Riggs and his family will extend their contract with AMC, pay close attention to William Riggs' hashtags on his Instagram post.
You could argue that Chandler will end up extending his contract until you read his father's Instagram caption on the picture posted above. After congratulating his son, he uses the hashtag "freedom," which implies that Chandler is finished with the beloved zombie show.
Even if the Riggs family is planning on Chandler exiting The Walking Dead and moving forward with his life, AMC will likely do everything in its power to keep Carl well and alive on the show. The character is currently undergoing a massive character arc, which only expands as the story moves ahead. In terms of the comic books, Carl is still alive and there's more than enough source material for another season of the character.
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Truthfully, I don't believe the showrunners planned on killing off Carl's character. However, they had to have seen this coming. I am almost positive that they were aware that Riggs had interest in going to college and that this has been discussed multiple times. It is very possible that AMC ends up paying for Chandler's college in addition to the load of cash they are already paying him. Since his college studies would totally clutter the show's shooting schedule, they could negotiate with Auburn very easily.
In the end, history has shown us that when young actors or actresses are leaving for college, the studios usually have a difficult time holding onto them and in the end, they end up releasing the actor. Could this change with Chandler Riggs? The Walking Dead is the most popular series on television and Carl is a main character whose role is only going to expand in the upcoming seasons. Or will Carl meet his demise and shake up the entire dynamic of the show?
How Would His Death Affect The Show?
I'm not saying that Carl is definitely going to die on the show and honestly, I have no clue how this situation is going to be solved. However, let's just assume he does kick the bucket. This would absolutely change the entire show forever. First off, if you thought the TV show not adapting the "All Out War" storyline from the comics would throw off the continuity, killing Carl would be so much worse. The comics are molding Carl into a main protagonist. If The Walking Dead killed off Carl, they would have to totally depart from the source material and steer into a new direction.
Disregarding the source material, what exactly would Carl's death do to the show? If he were to die, it would probably be towards either the mid-season finale or even the end of this season. If I had to put a finger on it, I would guess it would be by Negan. Perhaps things are going well for Rick's group and everything is looking hopeful until Negan pulls in and smashes Carl's brains out. Maybe Carl and Jesus get caught by the Saviors and Negan brings them back as hostages back to Alexandria and Carl's death could occur very similar to Hershell's, where Negan pretends like his death is a negotiation but ends up killing Carl nevertheless and causes a war between the two groups.
Obviously, this would really affect Rick's character as this would really push him forward to fight. This could be the ultimate cause that sparks an "all out war" between Alexandria and the Saviors. However, it's hard to see Rick moving on after Carl dying. He has stated before that he wouldn't know what he would do with Carl — even if Rick does have another child.
In the end, this is all speculation. The chances of The Walking Dead actually getting rid of Carl is very unlikely. Personally, I think that the producers will definitely be able to find a solution to all of this if they really put their minds to it. Carl's death could potentially throw off the balance of the show and if not done correctly, it could end it entirely. Given that, The Walking Dead will do everything to stay a power-heavy TV series and it will not let Auburn University, William Riggs, or anything/anyone else stand its way.
Do you honestly think "The Walking Dead" will be able to keep Chandler Riggs on the show?
What do you guys think? Will Chandler Riggs' contract be renewed or will Carl end up taking it up with Lucille? Tell me below!