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Original Walking Dead Actor Chandler Riggs' Sly Finale Cameo Slipped Right Past Viewers

After 11 seasons and over 170 episodes, the iconic zombie drama based on the Image Comics series has reached the finish line. "The Walking Dead" capped things off with a very eventful finale that even brought back several fan favorites, including Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira). There was even a small cameo from Chandler Riggs that many viewers might have missed.

Riggs played the son of Rick Grimes, Carl Grimes, for over 100 episodes of the AMC series (via IMDb), and during that time the character had it pretty rough. Losing one's childhood to a post-apocalyptic undead nightmare is one thing, but losing a mother and then an eye only adds to the punishment the poor kid endured. Despite surviving all of that, he was not able to survive long enough to make it to the show's final entry. Out of all the character endings on "The Walking Dead," Carl Grimes' death was arguably one of the most outrageous moments on the show, and it didn't necessarily go over great with fans. The character's final appearance was in Season 8, Episode 9 ("Honor"), and he has not been on the show since.

But the talented people in charge of the show took advantage of an unexpected opportunity to make sure the actor who played the legacy character entered the frame one last time. While Carl Grimes is long gone, Chandler Riggs managed to make it into the final episode of "The Walking Dead."

Fans will need both eyes to catch a glimpse of Chandler Riggs in the TWD finale

Toward the end of Season 11, Episode 24 ("Rest in Peace"), there is a scene at the Hilltop community where Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) are talking to Maggie Rhee (Laura Cohan) about what happens next. In the background of that ordeal, there are several people working and doing farming activities, including an individual way in the back looking suspiciously like a two-eyed Carl Grimes. That's because it was Chandler Riggs playing a hilltop farmer in the background of the series finale.

While many might think this move was a carefully calculated endeavor, that is simply not the case. It turns out it was all by chance. The actor was visiting the set, and when they needed extras, he was chosen by the director Greg Nicotero, and Riggs did not hesitate at the opportunity to get back into "The Walking Dead." "They gave me a hoe and said, 'Be a part of the background for one of the last shots'," Riggs told Entertainment Weekly. "And they just tossed me back there, and I just did some hoeing in the ground in the background. [Laughs] It was a lot of fun. It was just a quick thing before the rest of the filming for the day, so it was pretty cool."

Riggs' co-stars were thrilled to have him back

Greg Nicotero also revealed to Entertainment Weekly that Chandler Riggs didn't visit with the makeup or wardrobe departments and that he went to work in the clothes he was already in. "I think we gave him a hat to disguise him a little bit," the director added. 

Norman Reedus was thrilled to have his young co-star on set and mentioned that he tried to let the viewers in on the secret. "They're trying to hide him in the scene, and I kept trying to move my head like I'm looking at him to sort draw the audience's attention to, 'Hey, there's Chandler over there!' Which I don't think anybody really wanted me to do, but I thought it was funny so I kept trying to do it," the actor told EW. Maggie herself, Lauren Cohan, was also excited to have Riggs back. "Chandler is such an amazing guy. He's just really lovely. It was a class act for him to come that day," she said.

While it was brief and somewhat out of sight, having Carl Grimes in the mix is a fun little easter egg that fans will appreciate. But it does feel safe to assume that Riggs' series finale cameo could easily make the list of "Walking Dead" cameos fans probably missed the first time around.