As Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom combine to take on Negan and the Saviors in season 8 of The Walking Dead, they have a secret weapon at their disposal: Carl and Daryl have both been inside the Sanctuary. Could that knowledge aid the alliance in their battle? Chandler Riggs hints that it could come into play at some point.
We spoke to the recent high school graduate to get his take on what to expect with Carl moving forward, including the most burning question of all: Will producers ever allow him to get another haircut?
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So as we move into season 8, the war is here, but that’s not something that really scares Carl, is it?
CHANDLER RIGGS: No, not at all. I mean, he’s been preparing for this since he confronted the Saviors. He and a lot of other people have definitely been ready for this.
Rick always does everything in his power to protect Carl, but going to war obviously puts his son at risk. So what is the father-son dynamic like as we get into this territory? Is Rick trying to hold him back or letting him be a full-fledged soldier in his own right? Because Carl has proven he can handle himself.
Actually, it reminds me of a deleted scene from the end of last season where Carl, Rick, and Michonne were talking about if Rick had the willpower to cut off Carl’s arm at this point now that they’ve had more experience with the Saviors. And they kind of come to an understanding that they’ll do whatever is needed to be done for the greater good — not for themselves but what’s best for their community and the Kingdom and Hilltop and for everyone. If they have to sacrifice — whether it be a hand or a person or whatever it may be — they’re willing to give it up.
Carl’s been inside the Sanctuary. Is that knowledge something that might prove useful at some point?
I definitely think so. He and Daryl are among the few people that know the ins and outs of the Sanctuary and know where everything is, where everyone is, so I definitely think it will be useful this season because not a lot of people know about it.
One of the great relationships on the show is Carl and Michonne, going all the way back to season 3 and “Clear.” What’s it like now having her firmly established as part of this family unit?
I obviously love working with Danai so it makes my job a lot easier. But it’s really interesting to see Michonne more in battle and more on the front line of things. Working with Danai is so awesome just because she’s such an amazing actress and I’ve been so fortunate to have a ridiculous amount of scenes with her. The mother and son dynamic that Carl and Michonne have is really, really cool because Carl was Michonne’s first friend in the group and the first person to actually bring her in and help save her from the walkers and everything, so it’s definitely a very interesting dynamic that I’m definitely having a lot of fun exploring.
Carl’s kind of at the center of a lot of interesting relationships. We saw him and Enid do some bonding over roller skates last year. How would you describe their relationship moving forward?
They know how war works. They know that it’s possible that they could lose one another. So I think part of them doesn’t want to get too attached because they don’t want to get heartbroken again to see someone else get taken away from them. But, there’s definitely a lot of possibility and a lot of room to grow. Of course, there has to be something that comes after the war. So there’s a lot of hope.
Are they ever going to let you cut your hair again?
We’ll see. In the comics, he’s kind of got it slicked back a little bit so you never know. In the extended dream sequence, Sonequa and Danai were pushing for me to put my hair in a man bun for that whole sequence and have me not have an eye-patch and all this crazy stuff. That never made it obviously.
So what can you say about the tone and feel of season 8?
Obviously, it’s going to be a lot more action-packed and a lot more explosions and a lot of really, really big and crazy things happening. Season 7 was more the anticipation of trying to get people to turn against Negan and stop this madness. This season is about fighting back and actually taking back what’s theirs. There definitely are a lot of really crazy episodes.
For more Walking Dead intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
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