Andrew Lincoln is leaving The Walking Dead. Reports say that the upcoming ninth season will be the actor’s last as Rick Grimes, the sheriff that has been struggling to survive the zombie apocalypse on AMC’s hit television series.
But as one man exits the show, another is extending his stay. Those same reports say co-star Norman Reedus will likely stay on. He is currently in talks for a $20 million deal. More on the story below.
Collider was one of the first to report on the news. According to their sources, Lincoln is leaving to pursue more roles in film. While we don’t know what kind of fate is in store for Rick, they say that he will only be in a handful of episodes for season nine. This will be another blow for the Grimes family as they have been fighting to survive living amongst walkers and other humans since season one.
Lincoln’s exit will bear some resemblance to Lauren Cohan‘s (who plays Maggie) exit, as she too will only appear in a couple of episodes before her character meets some sort of end. Cohan will be playing the lead in ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier to series for a midseason bow.
The move comes as The Walking Dead continues to be one of AMC’s highest-rated television dramas – despite declining ratings and quality. But that isn’t the only shocking thing about this latest report.
Rick Grimes is the focal point of The Walking Dead comics. And while the show has deviated from the source material, seeing one of the leads taken out leaves a void within the drama. This may give all of those Grime arcs that were in the comics but not in the show to Reedus’s Daryl – a character who was never in the comics but was created for the show.
Reedus, who has been playing as Daryl since the very beginning, is in the midst of extending his stay on the show. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor is in talks for a deal that is north of $20 million. Both Lincoln and Reedus’s contracts were up by season eight. Plus, spending almost a decade on one show shows how much dedication a person has. But at the same time, you can’t blame them for wanting to pursue other things.
Other major exits include executive producer Robert Kirkman, the creator of the Walking Dead comic, who signed on to work over at Amazon Studios. Angela Kang will become the show’s fourth showrunner as Scott Gimple, the previous showrunner, leaves for a larger role at AMC.
So, it will be interesting to see how the show moves forward from here. It is said that season nine will be wildly different from previous seasons. And we will get to see how those changes will affect the series. Whether or not the The Walking Dead can survive without Grimes remains to be seen. But as long as Daryl is in this, everything will be okay.
That is until he dies. In which case, I predict a riot.
[Source: Collider | THR]