Big news from the world of the undead: The Walking Dead will reportedly lose lead star Andrew Lincoln after season 9 wraps.
Update (July 19): The Walking Dead comic book creator and series executive producer Robert Kirkman has pretty much confirmed Andrew Lincoln’s exit on the series. In an interview with Kevin Smith for IMDB, Kirkman commented on the star’s exit saying that, “It’s looking that way.”
He also added that, “It does make the differences between the comic and the show more pronounced.” Referencing the character, Rick Grimes, continuing existence and lead role in the comic series.
It doesn’t sound like Kirkman holds any bad feelings about Lincoln’s upcoming exit though. He acknowledges the great effort his leading man has put into the hit series. “But at the end of the day, it’s all about Andrew Lincoln. This is a human being. This is someone I have known for almost a decade, somebody that I love. He’s been sweating in Georgia, away from his family, for so long.”
Though no details are being given away about what the exit will look like Kirkman did tease that, “We have something amazing planned.”
Watch the full interview below:
Collider reports that Andrew Lincoln and AMC are planning Rick Grimes’ exit from the series, with the character only appearing in half of season 9’s episodes.
What’s more, AMC is reportedly trying to lessen the blow that’ll hit fans by offering a big payday to Daryl actor Norman Reedus, who would take on the show’s leading role. The character is arguably the most popular face on the series. Still, losing Rick would be a risky move.
Since he’s only appearing in half of the upcoming season’s episodes, one wonders if he’ll leave by the mid-season finale — typically a big episode for The Walking Dead — or if he’ll just appear less often before being killed during the season finale.
The reason for Lincoln’s departure isn’t entirely clear. We assume that Lincoln is ready to move on to other projects — Not only is the show pretty old, but its ratings and reviews have been sinking in recent years. The network hopes that a new (female!) showrunner will help turn things around.
The Walking Dead killed off Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) in season 8. The series killed off Rick’s wife Lori, played by Sarah Wayne Callies, way back in season 3.
Filming on season 9 is currently taking place in Georgia. The show is expected to return this October to AMC.