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Chandler Riggs' Dad Shares Surprising Details about The Walking Dead Exit

"Just to clarify once and for all: Chandler didn't want to leave the show"

Sadie Gennis

Chandler Riggs' dad opened up about his son's surprising exit from The Walking Dead last year, revealing previously unknown details about how the departure went down.

Riggs, who played Rick Grimes' (Andrew Lincoln) son Carl, abruptly exited the AMC hit midway through the show's eighth season. After the announcement was made, the actor's dad, William Riggs, expressed his anger at the way then-showrunner Scott Gimple handled it in a now-deleted Facebook comment. But on Saturday, William shared a lengthy Facebook post explaining what happened behind the scenes when Chandler was let go.

"Just to clarify once and for all: Chandler didn't want to leave the show," William wrote.

The actor's father claimed "Gimple personally called" Chandler and said the show needed his services for three more years, which led to Chandler signing a two-year contract with a one-year option. Afterward, Chandler bought a house near the AMC set and enrolled at the University of Georgia in Atlanta so he could complete college without it interfering with his role on the series.

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"It was the middle of June, his 18th birthday was coming up in a couple of weeks, 5 episodes were filmed, and they asked for my wife and I to both be at a meeting with Chandler - which was a little odd," William wrote. "It made me nervous but he and his manager assured me it was to plan for filming schedule, etc. Scott Gimple was the only one there and he told us that Carl would be gone in a few episodes. Chandler was absolutely devastated. I was disappointed Scott had been dishonest with a 17-year-old making life decisions and waited to tell us."

William said that is why he made the initial Facebook comment -- in which he wrote, "I never trusted Gimple or AMC" -- that he later took down per AMC's request. William also claimed he declined a request from TMZ to discuss the incident and he hasn't made any other public remarks on Chandler's firing until this latest Facebook post.

"None of it has ever really been about me," he explained. "Don't know why anyone would say anything about me -- but that's ok -- teaching Chandler to disregard negativity came with the deal so I can do it too lol. I never made it difficult for my son, our family had to work together to make it possible for him. Extremely grateful for the opportunity and 8 great years; as a parent, I felt Chandler had earned better treatment, but that's the biz. Unkind timing."

Read William's full post below.

The fresh comments from William echo some of what Chandler previously said upon leaving The Walking Dead in 2017. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly after his fate was revealed, Chandler said it was "devastating" to learn he was exiting the series.

"Gimple called to meet with me and my mom and my dad to talk about story stuff. And then he revealed that Carl would be dying in episode 9. It was devastating because the show has been such a big part of my life," Chandler said at the time. "I had gone to school and done the show and dedicated so much time and effort into the show that it was crazy that that was going to be the decision. I was so excited to do the story lines from the comics. But I guess it does make sense for Rick to kind of have to adopt this humanitarian lifestyle that Carl has an outlook on right now."

Chandler added he thought Gimple was "joking" when Carl's death was explained, "because Scott has a pretty good sense of humor and we joke around a lot."

The ninth season of The Walking Dead saw the exit of Chandler's onscreen father, Andrew Lincoln, so it's possible AMC and Gimple decided to abruptly write Carl Grimes out of the series in preparation for Rick's departure. (Lincoln, it's expected, will appear in Walking Dead spin-off films at a later time.) But don't worry about Chandler; he already has a new gig lined up.

Representatives for AMC didn't immediately respond to request for comment.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.

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Chandler Riggs, The Walking Dead
Gene Page/AMC