Andrew Lincoln will officially leave the role of Rick Grimes during ‘The Walking Dead’ season 9…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
As ‘The Walking Dead’ panel at San Diego Comic Con started this past weekend, there was a somber feeling in the air on whether or not Andrew Lincoln would address the biggest story of the year concerning the popular AMC series.
Rumors surfaced several weeks ago that Lincoln would be leaving ‘The Walking Dead’ during season 9 after filming only a handful of episodes that would eventually lead to his character Rick Grimes exiting the series.
Rather than shy away from the rumors, Lincoln addressed it almost immediately after fans in the cavernous Hall H in the San Diego Convention Center welcomed the cast and crew from ‘The Walking Dead’ to the stage.
“This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes,” Lincoln announced. “Now hear me out, please. I love this show, it means everything to me. I love the people who make this show. I’m particularly fond of the people who watch this show. This has been the most extraordinary, amazing and beautiful experience of my career and made largely because of you guys and the relationship we have with you.”
While Lincoln confirmed his exit from the show, he didn’t explain what led to his decision to leave ‘The Walking Dead’ but by all accounts his relationship with the cast and crew were definitely in tact as he joined the group for the panel at San Diego Comic Con.
Lincoln reportedly decided to exit the series due to the grueling months of filming that takes place primarily around Atlanta, Georgia while the actor’s family is back at home in his native England.
With ‘The Walking Dead’ filming for the bulk of the year, Lincoln’s travel schedule was rather arduous and it took him away from his family at home for long stretches of time. It appears he finally decided to focus on his home life rather than his career at least as far as its concerned with working in Atlanta for the majority of the year.
Now there’s no word on how exactly Lincoln’s character will leave the show but he teased that he’s far from finished with his part as Rick Grimes even if he’s not on ‘The Walking Dead’ any longer.
“My relationship with Mr. Grimes is far from over and a large part of me will always be a machete wielding, Stetson wearing, zombie slaying sheriff’s deputy from London, England,” Lincoln added. “What a thing. I’m really, really, really excited about this season.
“I think there are two episodes that for me are my favorite episodes since the pilot.”
Lincoln’s exit will definitely leave a gaping hole amongst ‘The Walking Dead’ cast where he’s been the lead actor through all eight seasons of the series.
Following news that Lincold decided to exit the series, co-star Norman Reedus was reportedly offered a huge salary increase to ink an extension that will make him the highest paid actor on the show and the top name on the call list going forward.
As for ‘The Walking Dead’, the series will pick up with a big time jump between season 8 and season 9 when the show returns to AMC on Sunday night, October 7 at 9pm ET.