‘Walking Dead’ Star Refutes Speculation Chandler Riggs Is Leaving Show

“I think Carl is the future of the show,” Tom Payne says

walking dead carl chandler riggs
Gene Page/AMC

“The Walking Dead” fans have been speculating for a while now that Carl Grimes actor Chandler Riggs is preparing to leave the show, but co-star Tom Payne thinks that won’t happen anytime soon – if ever.

“I think Carl is the future of the show,” Payne–who plays Paul “Jesus” Monroe– said to AOL’s Build Series before correcting himself. “I mean, is the future of the comic books, I think.”

“At the end of the day, I think Carl is the guy at the end on the last page,” he continued. “And I don’t know if they’ll go that way on the TV show, but I think it would be a logical place for them to go. Who knows?”

Previously, Riggs’ father William posted a picture of his son with the caption, “Completed 7 years on TWD! #freedom #thewalkingdead.” This came on the heels of Riggs announcing that he had been accepted into Auburn University, which is in Alabama.

While Auburn is not an unreasonable drive to “The Walking Dead’s” shooting locations in Georgia, it would mean Riggs would have to divide his time between his studies and his acting career.

Fans have been worried that Riggs will suffer the same fate as two other main characters in the season premiere. Carl has already clashed with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) twice, and may not survive a third time.

“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m./8c on AMC.