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‘The Walking Dead’: Chandler Riggs on Carl and Negan’s Relationship

Read no further if you haven’t watched the Dec. 4 episode of “The Walking Dead.”

This Sunday, Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) walked willingly into the lion’s den. His goal was to kill the man who’d killed two of his friends and brutally subjugated his community. But as much as he’s been through, Carl is still just a kid, and possibly a more impressionable one than he thinks, judging by his reaction to seeing the Saviors bow to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Riggs called up Variety to discuss how corruptible Carl’s soul might be.

Why doesn’t Carl jump out of the truck with Jesus and sneak into the Saviors’ compound with him?

I think he wanted it to be a solo mission — that’s how he intended it to be. It’s different for Carl because he lost people he really cared about. And Jesus hasn’t had that loss, the same way. It’s a lot more of an emotional thing for him to do.

It was actually a lot of fun shooting that first scene with Negan, after Carl goes nuts with the gun. Anything that happens in the show that relates to us shooting guns is gonna be fun — any time you’re shooting guns on set it’s going to be great. They’re blanks, so they don’t kick as hard, but the rifle does still kick.

What’s he feeling, when Negan finds Judith?

For Carl, it’s terrifying. It’s the one leg they had up on Negan: He didn’t know about Judith. That piece of information can completely destroy Rick and the morale of the entire community — and shut down the whole idea of rebelling against them. Negan having another form of power over Alexandria is very, very bad, and he’s very conscious of that.

How in danger is Carl of being seduced by Negan’s way of life, do you think?

You can definitely see the envy in Carl. Especially when Negan brings him in and shows him all the Saviors bowing down to him. After Negan leaves he sort of stays for a second and goes to the rail and tests it out. He considers it. He’s never seen anyone with this much power before. No one has that much respect for Rick, so for him, that’s crazy, and kind of a cool thing for him to see. For Negan to kind of hint at offering that to Carl, it’s really surreal for him.

Also, Negan’s the only one who treats him like an adult. He’s the only one who sees Carl as an equal. No one else has that kind of respect for Carl. The more Negan treats him as an adult, the more Rick treats him like a kid, and that’s a problem.

Carl and Enid shared a kiss a couple episodes ago — if their paths do cross again, do you think they’ll get together?

I think that moment was just a goodbye, because Enid knew if he went in there he’d probably die, and Carl knew if he went in there he’d probably die. And in that moment it was her final goodbye. “Maybe I’ll never see you again, peace.” [Laughs]

So the eye was disgusting — is that all done in post?

It’s a prosthetic. They added more depth to it in post, but it is actually a prosthetic. It was rough, it took like four hours to do the first few tests, to get the color right, and a few variants. On the day it took like an hour and a half. I’m really proud of how it looks. They have to leave some room over the eye so I can keep it open. With the bandage, it’s tough. I have to lose vision for, like, 10 hours with the bandage, and it’s kind of hard to adjust after. I have no idea where things are, I might think something’s really close but it’s far.

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