The mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead season 8 was a gut-wrenching episode to watch. Carl’s (Chandler Riggs) death was a defining moment for the show. It’s also a pivitol, moment, like Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham’s (Michael Cudlitz) death, where many fans exited from ever watching the show again. Sarah Wayne Callies, who played Lori Grimes on The Walking Dead, believes Carl’s life and death was a good one and Lori would have been proud of Carl.
On a podcast, Callies had some amazing words to share about her time on the show with Chandler-including the fact that the cast used to joke about how one day they’d reunite, and he’d be a grown man, shaving and hitting puberty. Little did they know at the time, that the show would have turned out to be this big a hit.
When asked what she thought if his last words when Carl talks to Rick and says, “Mom said I would outlive this.” She told them that she doesn’t necessarily think he let her down.
Sarah: Lori’s last words to Carl were, “You’re gonna beat this world.” I think it’s interesting because “beating the world” doesn’t always mean surviving it. Not to get too macabre, but there’s something to be said for looking at the world for what it is, and seeing your place in it-and seeing that it’s time to exit.
I guess that’s my way of saying that, I dont know that Lori would look at Carl’s life as a failure just because it didn’t last into old age.
She also explained how she believes Lori would feel about Carl’s journey.
I think she would be extraordinarily proud of the man he is and the choices that he’s made. It would just break her heart that this life that she brought into the world has been put into a situation where he’s had to make these choices and had to grow up so incredibly fast.
I think it’s beautiful that his last words pass on a sense of possibility to his little sister. For somebody whose grown up in this apocalyptic world, for him to have any positivity and light left to pass on to another generation is in itself a really extraordinary success.
So I don’t think Lori would consider this a failure. I think she’d be incredibly proud of the man that he’s been, and she’s looking forward to putting her arms around him on the other side.
Callies told a story from when she was filming on The Walking Dead, when the actors on set used to be served Chic-fil-a for one of their meals, and she would watch the kids suck down milkshakes, run around play and eventually fall asleep in the mud. (Carl Sophia, the Morales kids and background kids). She said that regardless of his age, Chandler Riggs’ talent struck her from the very beginning.
The crazy thing is that Chandler’s always been that good. So we’re shooting the third episode (of season three), where Daryl Dixon arrives. It was amazing because it was the arrival of one of the Frank Darabont-created characters right? Like, “Let me just remind everybody that i’m the guy who wrote The Shawshank Redepmtion. BAM! Here’s the most popular character that’s ever gonna be on the show.”
So we’re shooting the scene where Daryl coming into camp, he’s got squirrels hanging from his belt-yelling “MERLE MERLE!” And the whole camp runs around him.
I don’t remember what happened but it was emotional. Lori and Carol had shoved the kids into the Winnebago to be safe-and-sound. We finished the first take, and I go into the Winnebago and Chandler’s sobbing. I’m like “Oh my god are you okay?” He just looks at me and is like, “Yeah the scene is sad.”
She told him that he could always save it, because he isn’t on camera yet and he didn’t have to act during that period. He told her he was okay.
We shot 12 shots, and every time I went into the Winnebago, he was crying. I’m like, this kid is a beast of an actor and he was, what? 11? And that devoted to his character? It’s amazing.
When Sarah was asked if having played his mother on screen, she feels some gratification for the way he is even today. She said hugely, and explained how much she respected his family and him, for putting as much into his schooling as they put into his acting.
I’m really excited to see what he does next. I think it was between season 2 and 3 that we came back, and he just had a birthday. I said “What did you ask to get for your your birthday?” He said, “I asked my dad for all the parts to build my own computer.” He’s such a smart kid. he’s a compassionate kid. and he has a platform and a voice. I think I’m gonna learn a lot from him in the next ten years. He’s a achieved a level of success and fame and influence by 18 that a lot of actors work a lifetime for and still fall short of.
She took some time to think about how many of the characters are still alive on the show, and said that although the list of original characters is dwindling, we are still in good hands.
The only people from the pilot left are Andy and Lennie. Those are two fine men and two brilliant actors.
As far as what Sarah is up to now? She has been working on some amazing projects since her time on The Walking Dead including the hit show Colony and National Geographic’s The Long Road Home. She is still amazed that The Walking Dead has the popularity that it does.
There are times when I walk by a newsstand, and i’ll see the cover of EW and i’m like “Is that still on the air? That’s amazing!” It feels like it was a hundred years ago for me because it was such a different show and such a different lifetime. And Chandler’s been there from the very beginning.”
Yes he has, and we will miss him dearly!
You can listen to Sarah’s full interview HERE!
Covering superheroes, anything dark, horror, and more! Lead writer for Fan Fest