Andrew Lincoln is set to leave 'The Walking Dead'
It's weird to think that it was nearly eight years ago that The Walking Dead first premiered on TV. Making a post-zombie-apocalypse drama based on a long-running comic book series wasn't exactly a safe bet. While zombies are definitely a popular sub-genre of horror, we've been inundated with stories about them in all possible variations of the flesh-eating creatures by this point. Yet, somehow they pulled it off, and the AMC series was a bonafide hit.
By this point, however, the show has been dragging on for quite a while. I dropped off around season three, but it clearly had enough viewers invested to keep it running for five more seasons on top of that. From where I'm standing, the show seems to be a shambling, decayed version of its old self (if only there was a word for that), but it looks like there will be some major shake-ups to the show in the future.
According to a report from Collider, there are rumblings in the industry that the next season (the ninth) will be the last that Andrew Lincoln, aka lead character Rick Grimes, will appear in. It's also been rumored that he will be expecting to turn up in only around six episodes, with the seasons usually running for sixteen.
How the show will deal with this is unclear, but Lincoln (also known for being mad creepy in Love Actually) seemed excited about where the show will go after the season eight finale. He told Entertainment Weekly at the time:
"I can’t wait to see this next episode. It’s really interesting. It’s very different in a good way. In an exciting way.
"It’s more reminiscent of the pilot than any other season that we’ve embarked on, which makes me very happy. It’s a good time for it. It’s a really exciting time for it. I feel like season 1. It’s a big year, and I’m excited for it."
This quote makes a little more sense in retrospect, knowing that the actor is likely going to be leaving sometime soon. Whether he gets to walk off into the sunset with a happy ending, or devoured by a gang of hangry zombies, it looks like he won't be hanging around for much longer.
The report also suggests that to make up for Lincoln's absence, AMC have offered "substantial compensation" to Norman Reedus to stay on board and take on the show's leading role. This makes sense given that Reedus' character Daryl, while not being the central character, has long been a fan-favorite.
Behind the scenes, there have been a number of other changes recently. One of the original cast-members, Chandler Riggs, recently exited the show, while showrunner Scott M. Gimple is set to be replaced by Angela Kang. On top of this, Lauren Cohan held out for a better contract, using her prominent role to negotiate.
She has been confirmed to return for season nine as well, but a clash with her ABC pilot Whiskey Cavalier - which has recently been ordered to series - means that she will also only be there for six episodes.
There has been no official comment made by AMC or Lincoln yet, but it appears that when the show returns this October, it will be ol' Grimey's last hurrah.