How Chandler Riggs ended up in The Walking Dead series finale


Last night, AMC aired the series finale of The Walking Dead. It’s surreal just typing that, knowing how long this show has been on the air.

“Rest in Peace” included a few easter eggs for longtime fans, including a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo by Chandler Riggs, who played Carl Grimes for eight seasons. Riggs practically grew up on the set, and wanted to visit it one last time before the end.

“Well, I heard they were shooting the last episode, and I thought, ‘I feel like I should be there. It’d be so great to see all the old crew and the old cast and new cast that are all there,’” Riggs told Entertainment Weekly. “So I texted executive producer Denise Huth and was just like, ‘Hey, can you let me know the final day of filming? I’d love to be there for it. I’ll be in Georgia, and it’d be great to come by.’ And so she sent me the dates, and I made the trek down to Senoia, Georgia.

And apparently Denise hadn’t told anybody that I was coming, and I didn’t realize that. [Laughs] So I showed up, and Denise told the rest of the cast, ‘So I told you guys I had a surprise for you on the last day. Here it is!’ And I’m just like, ‘Hey, guys!’ And it was so just wholesome.”

That sounds adorable. Predictably, the cast and crew were delighted. “God, it was great to see him,” said director Greg Nicotero, who has been with the show since the beginning. “And we were so grateful that he came down.”

Chandler Riggs’ cameo in The Walking Dead series finale wasn’t planned

As for how Riggs ended up in the actual episodes, it wasn’t planned. “It was for one of their wide shots, and they were like, ‘Let’s get you in there. Here!’” Riggs remembered. “I was just in this shirt and jeans that I came down there in. They grabbed a hat from wardrobe. It was like Father Gabriel’s hat! And they gave me a hoe and said, “Be a part of the background for one of the last shots.” And they just tossed me back there, and I just did some hoeing in the ground in the background. [Laughs] It was a lot of fun. It was just a quick thing before the rest of the filming for the day, so it was pretty cool.”

“It was great,” said star Norman Reedus, who’s played Daryl Dixon since the very first season of the show. “They’re trying to hide him in the scene, and I kept trying to move my head like I’m looking at him to sort draw the audience’s attention to, ‘Hey, there’s Chandler over there!’ Which I don’t think anybody really wanted me to do, but I thought it was funny so I kept trying to do it.”

This was the first time Riggs had returned to The Walking Dead set since filming his final scenes in 2017, when his character was unexpectedly killed off even though Carl lives through to the very end in the comics. “[I]t was so cool to see how welcomed the new cast was, to be honest,” he said. “All the new folks that had come in and been a part of the show for the last couple years, it was like they had been on the show for 10 years. It was really cool to see just all of them be just as welcoming as I was on that set by Norman and Lauren and their whole crew and everyone. I think that was the thing that stood out to me the most.”

When they cut on the last shot, they blasted confetti, and everyone was cheering, and it was a really, really cool moment, and I’m really happy I got to be there for that.

It’s definitely awesome that someone who was so important to the show got to be there on the last day. And he was in the episode itself for good measure!

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