Following months of rumors, leaks, and speculation Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln finally confirmed that he would be leaving the show sometime during Season 9. “I want to address the elephant in the room,” Lincoln told thousands of Walking Dead fans during the Hall H panel at San Diego Comic Con 2018. “This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes,” he said as the crowd stirred. “I love this show. It means everything to me. I love the people who make this show.” Watch the moment unravel below:
Although many fans interpreted the news as Rick getting killed off the show like Glenn, Abe, or Carl, Lincoln seemed to leave the door open on his character. “My relationship with Mr. Grimes is far from over,” Lincoln said. However he leaves the show, Rick Grimes will still very much be a part of Season 9. Norman Reedus told Variety, “A big part of the first half of the season is Rick’s been sort of blinded by this desire to build something in honor of his son and that’s taking him on a destructive path not only for him but for the group in Daryl’s eyes,” he continued. “A lot of that is him hearing me out, and me making sure Daryl’s point is heard.”
The fans aren’t alone in being upset over Lincoln’s departure, the cast are affected too. “This show really is a family,” Jeffrey Dean Morgan told Variety after the panel. “…and I think a lot of that has to do with Andy. Andy has always been the guy, and the show is going to miss him, we’re going to miss him. It’s going to be a different vibe, there’s no replacing him.”
As for Andy, parting is equally sweet sorrow for him as well. “I’m particularly fond of the people who watch the show – you people,” he told the Hall H crowd. “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, here, with you.”
The Walking Dead returns Sunday, October 7th on AMC and Monday, October 8th on international channels. Give us all of YOUR reactions to the news in the comments below. Were you at all surprised? Upset? Glad it’s finally out there?