Warning: spoilers follow for all eight seasons of The Walking Dead!
Although AMC's hit series The Walking Dead is known for having cast members die at any given moment--regardless of how long they've been on the show. But it always seemed like Rick Grimes, the leader of the show's group of survivors, was immune from ever getting killed off. But according to a rumor coming from the folks at Collider, it seems series star Andrew Lincoln, who has played Rick from the very first episode of season one, will be leaving the show sometime in season nine. Nerdist reached out to AMC for comment, but have not heard back at time of publication.
In some ways, this news, if true, is not unexpected. Last season, Chandler Riggs, who played Rick's son Carl, was let go from the series and his character was killed. In the context of the show, it seemed the only reason Rick stuck around in this horrible, zombie infested world was to ensure the future and safety of his son. With Carl gone, what is Rick's impetus for anything anymore? Yes, he is raising Judith, the daughter of his ex-wife, but the child is not technically his, and would probably be raised just as well by another character--like maybe Maggie.
Speaking of Maggie, the actress who plays that character, Lauren Cohan, is also expected to leave the series next year, and is only scheduled for six episodes. So yeah, maybe scratch that Maggie raising Judith idea.
As part of the original report, it seems AMC is offering series star Norman Reedus, who plays fan favorite character Daryl Dixon, a substantial raise to not only stick around, but essentially become the new series lead. Daryl is arguably the show's most popular character alongside Michonne, so as long as those two are still around, certain loyal The Walking Dead viewers will hang on to the bitter end. It should be noted both Rick and Carl are both still alive in Robert Kirkman's ongoing comic book series, so whatever the series becomes after Lincoln's departure will be radically different than anything in the pages of the original comics.
What do you think of a Rick-less Walking Dead? Will you still watch the show without its lead? Let us know down below in the comments.
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