Former The Walking Dead star Chandler Riggs imagines how his character Carl Grimes would have evolved in a post-Rick Grimes environment. While both The Walking Dead graphic novel and TV show follow former police officer Rick Grimes as he navigates a zombie apocalypse, the series has never been afraid to diverge from the storylines of the comic. Characters who died in the show are still alive in the comic and visa versa, and Daryl Dixon – arguably the show’s most popular character – has never appeared in the comic series.
The last couple of seasons of The Walking Dead have really dived into unknown territory, starting with the death of Rick Grimes’ son Carl in season 8. The relationship between the two is a huge part of the graphic novel’s ongoing story, so Carl’s exit from the show was a real curveball for fans. Season 9 brought an even larger change with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) leaving too, though the character is set to return for three TV movies in the near future.
Despite some shocking character exits, The Walking Dead has been receiving strong reviews for its ninth season so far. Speaking at the San Jose Fan Fest (via ComicBook) Chandler Riggs reflected on how Carl might have evolved following Rick Grimes presumed death.
It’s kind of hard to know what Carl would be like after a six-year time jump. I think he definitely would take on this, if Rick wasn’t in the picture anymore, I think Carl would definitely take on this, I guess, just the older brother role, and really take care of [his siblings], and do what he’s been doing — or do what he was doing — for the years that he spent with Judith. I honestly don’t really know what he’d be like, but it would have been really interesting to see.
While some fans were worried about how The Walking Dead would function without Rick or Carl, reactions have thus far been positive. The show feels fresher this year, and the time jump following Rick’s exit seems to have revitalized the story. The show is also introducing the iconic Whisperers, a group of survivors who disguise themselves as zombies to survive. That said, it would have been genuinely intriguing to see how Carl would have evolved without Rick's guidance, and to see if he lived up to father's example.
While the ratings for The Walking Dead season 9 haven’t been great, there seems to be a concentrated effort behind the scenes to address the flaws of recent years. It’s also worth noting the show is still one of the biggest on TV, and with the Rick Grimes TV movies still on the horizon, there’s every sign the franchise will be around for at least a few more years.