For eight years, Chandler Riggs played Rick Grimes’ son Carl on the AMC hit show The Walking Dead. Fans got to see a young Riggs grow up as the seasons wore on, seasons that eventually saw his fan-favorite meet an unexpected end. That end came a couple of years back, so what has young Chandler Riggs been doing since?
As always, we go back before we go forward. As an actor, Chandler Riggs does not have a lengthy resume. He was a mere five-year-old when he was cast in an indie horror filmed called Jesus H. Zombie. Perhaps that was a little bit of foreshadowing to where his career would take him. But also as a child, Riggs learned how to tap dance, something he shared in common and studied with Zack Everhart, who would grow up to be a So You Think You Can Dance finalist. His next two projects would come a couple of years later with a feature titled Get Low and a TV movie, The Wronged Man. Next up, Carl Grimes.
CHANDLER RIGGS ON THE WALKING DEAD
The Walking Dead, as a TV series, has been a huge part of the lives of its collective fans. We’ve gone through just about every emotion as we’ve followed various groups of characters as they try to navigate and survive the zombie apocalypse. Chandler Riggs’s character as Carl Grimes was no exception. Riggs was hired as a 10-year old and for eight years grew into the character of Rick Grimes’ son.
We saw Carl run the gauntlet in terms of character development. Chandler Riggs went from a meek child to one who could and would do what was needed to protect his family. Not only would he kill for them, but it was the “who” that he killed which made Carl who he was. In the powerfully emotional episode, Killer Within, Carl first watches his mother, Lori Grimes, bleed to death, and before she can reanimate into a zombie, he puts a gun to her head and pulls the trigger.
Carl’s character differs from the comic to the TV series in one major way. One survives and one doesn’t. Chandler Riggs’ TV Carl is the one who loses the battle versus the zombies. He suffers a bite to the abdomen that seals his fate. He knows that he can’t put his father or Michonne through the agony of killing him before he can come back as a zombie, so he chooses to do it himself. It’s another one of The Walking Dead’s moments that is heart-breaking.
Carl’s end is a moment that Chandler Riggs, not to mention the rest of the cast, saw coming. “I found out — we got the script for episode six, when [the bite] was supposed to happen,” Riggs said, via ComicBook, to an enthralled audience at the Fandemic Tour Sacramento. “We were doing rehearsals for it and then, after the rehearsals, Scott Gimple [the at-the-time showrunner] brought me in and then told me. He said, ‘That’s why you kind of act weird after you trip, because [the bite] happens,’” Riggs explained to the audience.
Chandler Riggs doesn’t hold any ill-will toward Gimple or the show in general, “But you know, regardless, it was great being on the show. I definitely miss being a part of it, but being able to go and do other roles and do so many other things I wasn’t able to do when I was on the show was really, really cool.”
Chandler Riggs’ father William says the younger Riggs was about to turn 18 and had just purchased a home near The Walking Dead set based on the fact that, according to William, Chandler was told he’d be on the show for the next three years. The elder Riggs took to Facebook (since deleted) to rail on Gimple. “Watching Gimple fire my son 2 weeks before his 18th birthday after telling him they wanted him for the next 3 years was disappointing,” Riggs wrote. “I never trusted Gimple or AMC but Chandler did. I know how much it hurt him. But we do absolutely know how lucky we have been to be a part of it all and appreciate all the love from fans all these years!”
While Chandler Riggs’ end with The Walking Dead was not a popular one, his eight years on the show saw Riggs receive much critical acclaim. He was nominated five times for a Saturn Award, winning three times and he was nominated three times for the Young Artist Award, winning once.
ALMOST A SUPERHERO
Chandler Riggs was actually up for the role of the new Spider-Man, the role that was eventually given to Tom Holland. But not only did Riggs audition for Spidey, but he also confirmed that he auditioned for Han Solo in the movie Solo.
He finally came clean to ComicBook. “I auditioned for Spider-Man,” Riggs said. “I auditioned for Han Solo, all those big movies. I would love to do something like that. It would be awesome, especially now that I have a lot more free time, it would be really, really cool.”
The role of Solo eventually went to Alden Ehrenreich.
CHANDLER RIGGS NOW
So, what does a dearly departed Walking Dead cast member do with himself? Well, for Chandler Riggs, it’s a little more acting.
Once his time on The Walking Dead was complete, Riggs found himself in two features, Only, and Inherit the Viper. His last project was a guest-starring role in the series A Million Little Things.
What else does a young actor do with his time when he isn’t acting? For Chandler Riggs, it is all about being a DJ. He told TooFab, “As an actor, you have a ton of downtime, so it’s always good to have a hobby, especially another creative outlet outside of acting. Acting is stupid awesome and I love it, but you’re kind of limited to the words on the paper. You can dictate how you say those words and make plenty of different choices, but you are pretty limited,” Riggs continued. “Versus whereas when I open up [music production program] Ableton, the possibilities are endless. I can just create whatever I want and make whoever make however I want, it’s really really cool.” And he has.
Chandler Riggs goes by the name of Eclipse and recently he released a single titled “Endeavor” that he has made available for free use to YouTubers and content creators alike. While acting is still in his blood, music is his passion. He has a five-year plan that includes getting a chance to score a film, a video game, or even a TV show. Now that you brought it up, ex-Carl Grimes, AMC does have a few more Walking Dead projects lined up. Maybe they’ll do you a solid.
A DANGEROUS FALL
Late last year the young actor suffered a concussion when he fell off his horse. Thankfully, Chandler Riggs was wearing a helmet, but it didn’t stop him from getting the concussion. He even tweeted about it, “it’s SO weird hearing about what i was saying and doing after it happened. for hours i had no idea what year it was, how i got there, what happened, etc. and i kept asking the same questions over and over again just to immediately forget the answer.”
Chandler Riggs’ mother Gina also updated fans on her Instagram after the incident stating, “Thankfully, he’s going to be ok and thankfully I’m here with him. He was thrown off of his horse yesterday afternoon. Thank goodness he was wearing a helmet. He has a pretty bad concussion and is in a lot of pain but no broken bones! I took the first flight out to LA and got here at around 9:30 last night. Keep him in your prayers!” Riggs has since made a full recovery.