When AMC’s The Walking Dead made the unfathomable move last year of ending the run of its co-main character, Chandler Riggs’s Carl Grimes, it served as a definitive sign that the popular television series was making a hard swerve away from the safe story track of its Image Comics source material, which still features the character. Yet, for Riggs, his exit from the series – mired in behind-the-scenes controversy – led to a year-long layoff; an unusual predicament for an actor who’s fresh from one of the most-watched TV shows on the planet. However, the layoff is over for Riggs, who now heads to a hit network series.
Chandler Riggs has joined the cast of ABC’s A Million Little Things, reports TV Line. He is booked for a multi-episode arc to play a character named PJ, a young man who makes the acquaintance of Rome (Romany Malco). The character is described as someone who “has had some dark days and their encounter proves meaningful to both of them in ways each of them doesn’t even fully realize at the time.”
The new TV run was teased a few days ago by Riggs (who didn’t divulge the show,) on Twitter, on which the young actor has been honing some sharp wit, especially with his occasional chime-ins on the current state of The Walking Dead, which is in the middle of its ninth season.
Riggs’s new small screen platform in A Million Little Things, debuted this past September, manifesting as a prestige drama with a circuitous non-linear narrative somewhat in the same vein as NBC’s This is Us. The ABC drama, which brandishes an impressive ensemble consisting of David Giuntoli, Grace Park, Ron Livingston, Christina Ochoa, James Roday, Allison Miller and the aforementioned Romany Malco, has been a primetime hit for the network, and recently banked 5.3 million viewers in its midseason return this past week in a new Thursday timeslot.
Of course, Riggs was an inaugural cast member of The Walking Dead, on which his role of Carl allowed viewers to watch him grow from a small child to a young man before our very eyes from 2010-2018. Indeed, the arc of the character, the son of the show’s other main character, Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes, was a series-defining one – rife with ethical and emotional quandaries of growing up in the nightmarish remnants of society – and was arguably the heart of its zombie apocalypse world woes. However, the series came to a crossroads last year when the news that Riggs was set to be leave the series; a report that came with hazy, conflicting reasons.
Regardless, Riggs’s Carl was killed off in the aftermath of a sacrificial heroic act late into Season 8, leaving an indelible character chasm. The TV-to-comics anachronism gap would only widen in the beginning of its current frame, Season 9, with the first half showcasing the even more unfathomable loss of the show’s definitive protagonist – and Carl’s father – in Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes. However, while Rick’s Virginia-based survivor cohorts believe that he went out in similar heroic sacrificial fashion, we saw that he survived, and that AMC has big plans to bring him back in a series of standalone spinoff movies.