What is The Walking Dead without Rick Grimes? Following Andrew Lincoln’s San Diego Comic Con announcement that he was leaving the show, fans have been openly wondering how the zombie drama could continue without its star. New showrunner Angela Kang, who has written on the show since Season 2, told Entertainment Weekly as vital as Lincoln is, the show has “never been a story just about this one man. It started with him, but it’s always been a story about this group of people that have each other’s backs, that help each other survive, that help each other be more human. And that’s the story that we’ll continue to tell.”
Kang is right, as essential as Rick Grimes is The Walking Dead has always been the strongest when the ensemble around him shined. And his absence from the show could improve the cast as a whole. “He has so empowered the other actors to carry on the positive legacy that he’s had on the set all these years,” Kang told EW. “And they really have absolutely stepped up…So we have all these wonderful actors that are on our show that are gonna be just as positive, and wonderful, and warm as he was. And that’s really the lasting legacy that Andy leaves us as a human being on our set.”
Just because Rick will be off the show doesn’t mean he’ll be forgotten. “The goal this season was just to pay homage to that character — the character that brought us into the show,” Kang revealed. “Rick Grimes has been somebody that people have loved watching, just loved this character’s journey…And we just really wanted to be respectful of that character and send him off in a great way. So that was the charge for us this season.”
Catch the rest of the interview over at Entertainment Weekly. The Walking Dead returns for its ninth season on AMC Sunday, October 7th.