It's official. Andrew Lincoln has confirmed his exit from AMC's The Walking Dead. Rumors have been swirling of the actor's planned season 9 exit for some time. The actor has finally confirmed it in no uncertain terms.
Reports that Lincoln was planning to hang up his sheriff's hat have captured The Walking Dead fandom's attention since the cast renegotiated their contracts for season 9. Lincoln took a much smaller number of episodes than his usual, with only 6 episodes planned for season 9. When news broke of Lincoln's reduced episode count, sources claimed his character, Rick Grimes, would be exiting the show after the upcoming season. This is added to the recent loss of Carl Grimes actor Chandler Riggs and the possible departure of Lauren Cohan. Cohan will also be seen in fewer episodes in season 9, the actress opted to focus on her upcoming Whiskey Cavalier pilot after a bid for an increased salary for her role as Maggie Rhee.
Lincoln finally confirmed his plan to leave the show during The Walking Dead 2018 San Diego Comic-Con panel, TVLine reports. The 44-year-old actor gave a very clear and simple answer to questions of his future on TWD. "This will be my last season, playing the part of Rick Grimes," he said. Lincoln went on to promise not to cry, noting all the emotional scenes he has been forced to play throughout his time on the series. He went on to express his love and gratitude toward the show and the fans that made it possible.
Yesterday, TWD creator Robert Kirkman also confirmed the end of Lincoln's run on the series while speaking with Kevin Smith at the convention. Kirkman expressed his love for Lincoln and the actor's right to settle down with his family in the UK rather than running around the hot Georgia weather. The comic book creator then promised big plans for the character that fans would want to see, noting that Lincoln wanted his character to go out in a special way. Lincoln echoed that sentiment in his announcement, noting he is "really, really excited" for season 9 and promising the show will carry on thanks to its talented ensemble cast.
Following the initial reports that Lincoln would be leaving the show, castmates spoke out, expressing their sadness over losing such an important member of the cast. Riggs admitted that he was shocked, but held a similarly supportive outlook to Kirkman. While Daryl Dixon actor Norman Reedus posted a sweet photo of Daryl and Rick hugging, captioned with a heart emoji.