Fans of the AMC zombie series The Walking Dead will be shocked to hear that series star Andrew Lincoln has announced that he will no be part of the horror series following the show’s upcoming ninth season. Lincoln is only expected to appear in six episodes next season. The actor has been playing Rick Grimes, an ex-cop turned leader in a post-apocalypse America, since the show’s first season in 2010. While Lincoln has not said why he wants to quit the zombie series, speculation rests on the actor wanting to spend more time with his family. The Walking Dead films in Georgia while Lincoln’s family lives in the United Kingdom. Lincoln has also stated that he feels that Rick’s story arc is coming to an end, and he wants to see the character’s journey come to completion.
Lincoln is not the only actor who has been with the show for a long time to exit the series recently. Last season, Chandler Riggs, who plays Rick’s son Carl on the show, left after his character suffered a bite from a walker. Like Lincoln, Riggs had been with the show since it began in 2010. Additionally, it was recently announced that Lauren Cohan, who has played Maggie since the show’s second season, would also only appear in six episodes of the coming season.
While fans worry that Lincoln and Cohan’s exits will lead to the show’s end, AMC plans to continue the series despite the exit of two of its biggest stars. Part of the network’s plan to keep audiences interested in the series is to offer actor Norman Reedus, who has played Daryl Dixon on the show since season one, a larger paycheck to stay with the series. Rumors are that the show’s writers hope for Reedus to assume Lincoln’s position as leading actor on the series.