It’s amazing what a difference a few seasons of character development and actor maturity can make. In the earlier years of AMC hit drama The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes’ now teenage son Carl (Chandler Riggs) was seen by many fans as an annoying tag-along that seemingly existed only to disobey his parents and make stupid decisions that endangered the lives of the other main characters. This sentiment grew to such an extent that mountains of memes popped up online extolling Carl to stop his shenanigans.
In the last few years though, both Carl the character and Riggs the actor have matured a great deal, with quite a few former Carl haters now considering him an essential part of the The Walking Dead’s always fluctuating roster of characters. While it’s true that not everyone has hopped aboard the Carl bandwagon, it’s definitely quite the shift from how he was widely perceived back in season 2.
Recently, rumors surfaced that Riggs might be leaving TWD pretty soon, meaning that Carl would likely have to meet his maker on-screen. These reports seem to have sprung up based on two social media posts, one by Riggs himself and the other by his dad William Riggs. First, a tweet by Riggs announced that the young actor had been accepted into Auburn University in Alabama. In a Facebook post not long after, William congratulated his son on finishing up his seven-year contract with TWD, and his impending college arrival. In a recent Instagram comment [h/t The Wrap], Riggs’ mother Gina-Ann said the following, seemingly attempting to squash the rumors of her son’s departure from TWD:
“Don’t over analyze. His seven year contract is up. That’s all he was saying, nothing else. Pretty big accomplishment for a child actor (and for the parent who had to quit his job for this child to be able to follow his dream).”
Now obviously, this statement doesn’t necessarily mean that Riggs isn’t going to be leaving The Walking Dead at some point in the near future. Riggs and his family are no doubt bound by lengthy confidentiality agreements with TWD’s producers, so even if Carl was soon set to die, it would basically be their job to discredit that notion among series fans, especially since it was their own posts that led many to jump to conclusions. Plus, there is zero chance of showrunner Scott Gimple or TWD creator Robert Kirkman addressing the issue publicly, as to do so would essentially spoil whether Carl will survive season 7 or not.
Logistically though, there’s no reason to believe that Riggs can’t balance going to college with his TV career, as many actors have done before him. After all, if he intends to pursue acting as a career going forward into adulthood, it would likely be unwise to suddenly bail on the role that put him on the map. Auburn University is only about an hour from TWD’s Atlanta shooting location as well, so the distance likely wouldn’t be a big factor. For now though, Carl’s future – like the future of just about any TWD character – remains a big question mark.
The Walking Dead season 7 airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.
Source: The Wrap