SPOILER ALERT: Continue reading only if you have already seen the Midnason premiere of The Walking Dead "Honor".
We all knew that it came after Carl The Walking had revealed Dead 's midseason finale that he had been bitten by a zombie. This was the premiere in the Midseason premiere titled Honor, a farewell to one of the few original characters and actors who started the show.
Chandler Riggs was just a boy when the AMC zombie drama began, but he leaves eight years later as a man. His final installment was Carl's urgent appeal to his father, Rick, to adopt a more optimistic, inclusive and forgiving vision of the future ̵
We talked to Riggs – who also made the movie Inherit the Viper and makes music under the name Eclipse – all about his final days on set, including the most difficult scene for him to film and speak Goodbye for the cast and the crew. He also reveals his favorite episode of all time.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We've been talking about this farewell episode for a while now. What was it like to sit down and watch it?
CHANDLER RIGGS: I mean, it's kind of weird. When we shot it, I was actually so excited to see it just because the sets were just crazy. For example, when Carl is pulled into the church and church and Alexandra is burned – everything was shot so well and it was just better to see it. Really, really cool
There are a lot of really emotional moments for your character – one with Judith, one with Daryl and obviously a bunch with Michonne and Rick. Was there a particular moment that really shocked you the most when you were either filming or watching?
The farewell scene with Judith, I think, will always catch me just because I've been downing something stuff that I said was. I remember when I read the script, I thought, "Man, do I have to say it all?" It was definitely not a scene that I was looking forward to. For example, when he talks about his mother, who tells him that he's going to beat this world, and he does not. All this stuff is just so sad.
You had so many great speeches in this episode. While this is great as an actor, it's also a lot to handle and remember, right?
Yeah! Luckily, I had decided to do a gap year, take the school vacation, and focus on the show. Normally I would be flooded in episodes 8 and 9 at school because I had just started, and I would have tried to get trapped during a lot of The Walking Dead . But when I took a break, it was really nice to put 100 percent into this episode and into that story. For a change, it was really nice that I could make every effort.
How and when did Showrunner Scott M. Gimple explain to you that we are jumping out of the comic we have first this time? In the premiere season, I actually saw Carl's vision of the future …
I found out that Scott told me Carl was killed. I was super juiced because I was in the Flash forwards to somehow throw the viewers off. One of my questions for him was: "How does that fit together?" He told me that it was Carl's vision of what the future might be like, and I think it's definitely possible. So if Rick actually listens to Carl and really wants a better life for Judith, then he'll have to do that.
What was the direction of director Greg Nicotero for you, as in this episode? Did he or Scott have any clues or hints on how to do that?
Somehow, yes. They wanted it to get darker and calmer, and a very mature attitude to the situation because while Rick and Michonne freaked out somehow to figure out what to do, Carl is calmer and he has already written his notes. He has already said many farewell words and can then actually talk to Rick and Michonne and tell Rick, whatever he can. I think that's more than he could have asked for, and with Rick and Michonne he's definitely worse for her than his last moments.
In your opinion, what is the meaning of Carl, who insists on shooting himself instead of having Rick or Michonne do it?
I think it somehow shows Rick mercy, because Carl knew this was his fault, and he could easily have prevented it if he had not listened to Siddiq and tried to kill those wanderers. He helped Siddiq to honor his mother, and he saved his life. This is a kind of Carl who shows mercy to Rick because he knew it would crush him, and that's kind of his way of saying he's sorry and trying to get him through as little grief as possible.
What was? the last thing you shot out of this episode?
The last scene we shot was, I think, Judith's last scene. That was the very last scene. Actually, in October, two months later, we came back to this scene and had to take some new shots. Yes, it was definitely not a fun scene to shoot. But I'm just glad that we're behind it and out of the way because it was my least favorite scene that I had to read in the script and have to do. Luckily everything is said and done, and I'm really happy with how it came out.
How was it after they announced that it was a wreck for Chandler Riggs on The Walking Dead?
That was really weird just because I never thought it would happen before I found out. Even after sitting on it for so long, it was still funny to hear them say it and actually say goodbye to everyone. Waking up the next morning was super-bizarre, knowing that nothing would ever be the same again.
I remember talking to Steven Yeun after Glenn died on the show and Steven said the whole experience was somehow like seeing his own funeral. Did you have that strange sensation in a sense?
Yes. It was really bizarre because I got so close to Carl. I grew up with him. To say goodbye to this part of my life was awesome, super funny. But somehow a relief in the knowledge that I can go and do other things, and movies and things like that. It was very bizarre.
What will you miss most about working on this show?
Really, easy to work with all the awesome actors. That was my favorite part of being on the show. When I'm not on the show, I definitely miss it and miss working with them. It's weird because I'm doing scenes with other actors I have not known for eight years, and that's different.
What's your favorite episode that you've ever done in eight seasons because you did it? a few big ones?
My episode I shot was definitely the notorious pudding episode – Season 4, Episode 9 – because I could really expand my boundaries from what I could do as an actor, and I got a whole episode dedicated to me, and I have things to do that I had never really done before, that was really, really funny. It was definitely something that I've been looking forward to for so long and I'm really happy with how it went out.
How much pudding did you actually eat in this episode? Fortunately, only a quarter of the can was that I ate at the end, but it was still a lot pudding.
The Walking Dead broadcasts Sundays at 9 pm on AMC. For more TWD Intel follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss .