Andrew Lincoln has shared a letter, officially bidding farewell to The Walking Dead. The apocalyptic action-drama, based on the series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, is currently in season 9. For nearly a decade since it was first brought to the screen by Frank Darabont, the show has enjoyed a reigned as one of the biggest shows on television. In recent weeks, however, ratings have continuously dropped to new series lows.
Lincoln, who has served as one of the show's leads since the beginning, announced his departure as Rick Grimes earlier this year. In the time since, speculation has been rife how the character would be written out. Co-star Norman Reedus feared that Daryl would kill Rick. Given the mounting tensions between Daryl, Rick, and Maggie - who will also see her role on the show reduced - it may be possible. Another Walking Dead actor, however, hinted it was an ending that Lincoln could one day come back from. Questions have also arisen as to who will fill his shoes and whether the show can even survive such a monumental transition.
Whatever the case turns out to be regarding the fate of Rick Grimes, Lincoln is more than ready to hang up the iconic sheriff hat and pistol. To further cement this fact, with only two episodes left to go, Lincoln penned a goodbye letter (via ComicBook) In the letter, Lincoln reminisces about his time on the show, referencing both events that occurred on-screen and the interactions he shared with fans away from it. The actor describes the myriad of emotions that has been poured into the show, as well as his hopes for the future of the show and the beloved cast and crew he's leaving behind. Check out the full letter below:
For coming with us on this journey. For the nine years of fear, heartache, anger and, let’s face it, guts you’ve shown by making it through these 115 episodes and counting. And for services to journalism that go way behind any civilised levels of human endurance.
It’s been the most exciting, challenging and satisfying role of my career — and for the best part of a decade, the greatest adventure of my professional life. This season feels like the show I fell in love with all those years ago, and the world we were always heading toward when we wrapped the pilot episode.
By my own rough count, I’ve killed over 400 zombies during the apocalypse. Lost a horse, found a horse. Lost a girl... that didn’t go well. Ate a dog once. Wore a meat poncho twice. Escaped from a bunch of hipster cannibals. Not to mention I’ve been shot twice, baseball batted, stabbed three times, bit a man’s throat out (I’m sorry — that was weird — and tasted like chicken), and had my cowboy boots resoled... 12 times.
We began as an indie movie, and years later became a three-letter acronym (wtf?). And along the way, we’ve had the unique pleasure of meeting zombie enthusiasts all over our beautiful blue planet. From Tokyo to Trinidad, people have been united by their love of this story of survival... and Norman Reedus’ extraordinarily luscious hair.
It’s been a wild ride, shaped by the relationship between the show and the fans of the show, and in no small part you good people of the press.
I look forward to following your coverage of the show and my friends in Atlanta for seasons to come — what they have planned is quite incredible.
So thank you.
For all of it.
For the good, the bad... and of course, we wouldn’t be a free press... without the ugly.
Until our paths cross again.
Keep Calm and Carry a Red Machete...
Whichever way the character of Rick Grimes bows out - be it death or imprisonment or exile - it will surely be a water cooler topic for the days that follow. Whether or not viewership will increase for this particular episode remains to be seen, but it's sure to be an impactful installment. Some former cast members have already been confirmed as returning for Lincoln's swan song - including Jon Bernthal's Shane and the late Scott Wilson as Hershel.
It's unclear in which capacity they will return. Given Rick Grimes' penchant for hallucinations, it's a safe bet that they'll appear as figments of Rick's fragmented psyche. Whatever the case, their presence will surely add to the emotion of the episode. As sad as it'll be for the remaining fans to see Rick depart, however, fans will no doubt wish Lincoln well, as he moves on to other stuff... and things.
The Walking Dead season 9 continues Sunday, October 28 on AMC.