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Andrew Lincoln to Leave The Walking Dead After Ninth Season

Say goodbye to Rick Grimes and hello to more Darryl

rick grimes

This article contains spoilers for season 8 of The Walking Dead. You have been warned.

The end is near for Sheriff Rick Grimes: sources say that Andrew Lincoln plans to leave AMC’s The Walking Dead at the end of its upcoming ninth season. Lincoln joins fellow cast member Lauren Cohan (Maggie), who will also be leaving the zombie series. Cohan will appear in six episodes in the next season before she leaves to join a new series ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier.

In December, Lincoln told the Hollywood Reporter that “there needs to be an end game and that is something that is definitely being talked about. There’s certainly an endgame in my head. Whether or not that’s the same endgame that’s in the producers’ heads or the people I work with, is another matter. That’s open for discussion.”

Lincoln’s departure deviates from the comic book series, where Rick Grimes is still front and center. Robert Kirkman’s series also still features Ricks’s son Carl, who was killed off the show at the end of season 8. Meanwhile, AMC plans to have Norman Reedus step into Lincoln’s shoes as the de facto series lead. Reedus, who plays fan favorite Daryl, is set to earn over $20 million dollars to stay on the series.

Showrunner Scott Gimple said “We knew for a long time that season [eight] was, in many ways, the end of a chapter of the show. The differences that people will be seeing in season nine and beyond are going to be pronounced. It’s going to be a very different show with characters handling very different issues, challenges and threats than we’ve seen before. These characters will be different in a lot of ways.” Gimple is also leaving the show to take over as the chief creative officer of The Walking Dead franchise for AMC. Angela Kang will be stepping up as showrunner.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: AMC)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.