The Walking Dead returned to AMC for the back half of Season 9 this past weekend, with the surviving characters realizing they're up against an entirely new threat with the Whisperers. Before any shocking moments could make it to air, though, Chandler Riggs' father William Riggs took to social media and put former Walking Dead showrunner on blast, alleging that Gimple had initially lied to them about the show's true intentions for Carl Grimes. Here's what the Riggs family supposedly thought was happening.
Just to clarify once and for all: Chandler didn’t want to leave the show. He had been accepted at UGA, and would complete school while working (online when filming) as he had done high school for the last 8 years. Scott Gimple personally called him and said on a conference call in April that they needed him for 3 years. Chandler agreed to a 2 year contract, which was typical. 1 year guaranteed and the next one at their option, which was also typical. He signed the deal, graduated from high school and went back to work. He bought a house near the set and enrolled at UGA so that he could be close to work since we had been commuting nearly 2 hours each way all these years.
Most of what was said there sounds like what was already public knowledge around the same time. As a matter of fact, whenever Chandler Riggs got accepted to UGA, the announcement had some fans up in arms that it meant the actor would be leaving the AMC series in order to focus more on school. That belief, however, ran counter to the reveals that Riggs was adding more permanence to his time in Georgie for the Walking Dead production shoots, so it was unclear back then just how things were playing out.
If William Riggs is to be believed, however, then it looks like everything took a downward turn in the weeks just prior to Chandler Riggs' 18th birthday, in June 2017. Even though all of that preparation had reportedly been made to keep the teen near the Georgia sets, Scott Gimple apparently had other ideas in mind. Here's how the elder Riggs put it in a post on his Facebook page.
It was the middle of June, his 18th birthday was coming up in a couple of weeks, 5 episodes were filmed, and they asked for my wife and I to both be at a meeting with Chandler- which was a little odd. It made me nervous but he and his manager assured me it was to plan for filming schedule, etc. Scott Gimple was the only one there and he told us that Carl would be gone in a few episodes. Chandler was absolutely devastated. I was disappointed Scott had been dishonest with a 17 year old making life decisions and waited to tell us.
William Riggs went on to cay that after he'd shared his thoughts and opinions on the matter after it was revealed that Carl was being killed off, AMC allegedly contacted him and asked him to remove his post. He also says he declined taking a story with TMZ, stating that he doesn't want to be in the middle of this story (that he himself is publicizing again).
Around the time when it became clear that Chandler Riggs would be written off the show, things did seem a little murky between the actor and the show's execs, though no one was publicly saying anything to support ill motivations being behind Carl's death. (I mean, William Riggs did say quite a bit, even in posts that weren't requested to be taken down.)
As just about every Walking Dead fan knows at this point, Season 8 was Scott Gimple's last season as the series' showrunner. He was promoted to oversee the growth of the entire Walking Dead franchise even beyond the AMC series, while longtime writer Angela Kang took over the showrunning duties. Under her guidance, the zombie drama has had more emotional and contemplative heft, and it's rather easy to picture a reality where Carl was still alive in Kang's narratives.
As William Riggs put it, he's very grateful for the years that Chandler got to be a part of the large Walking Dead ensemble. However, he thinks that all those years on the show had earned the young actor more transparent treatment from the producers.
Next up, Chandler Riggs will be heading to ABC for a stint on the hit new drama A Million Little Things, which should be a completely different experience from that which he went through on Walking Dead. While waiting to see what he'll look like without his signature hat and eyepatch, our midseason premiere schedule will point to all the biggest show and returning shows on the way.