Fans of The Walking Dead can look forward to brighter future, with Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus negating new deals to ensure their return in season 9.
With tumbling ratings and backlash over the show's latest big departure, it is hoped that a shake-up at the top and promotion of Angela Kang to series showrunner could give some new life to the zombie showstopper. However, while there are set to be some big changes behind the scenes, its look like two of The Walking Dead's biggest stars aren't going anywhere just yet.
The news of season 9 was broken by THR in an article also confirmed that Lincoln and Reedus are negotiating new deals for when their current contracts expire after season 8. It may not be definite confirmation that Rick and Daryl will live through the bloody war with Negan and his Saviors, but it is a pretty good indication that they won't be leaving the next run of 8 episodes in a body bag.
AMC already plans to run The Walking Dead for decades, but had it continued on its current course, that might not have been for much longer. With the creator, fans, and even Andrew Lincoln himself looking to a time when Rick Grimes is killed off, it seems that Rick's death day isn't coming just yet. As for Reedus, the 49-year-old says he has no plans on exiting the show and would love to be there until the very end of The Walking Dead. Also, with Kang being the writer who penned Daryl-centric episodes 'Still' and 'The Cell', her promotion could be great news for Daryl supporters (though, the departure of Chandler Riggs proves that this isn't really Norman's decision to make).
Both Lincoln and Reedus will be two of only three original actors left on the show after season 8. The supersized cast may currently include series regulars like Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, but Melissa McBride's Carol is the only other actor left from The Walking Dead's freshman year. There is no news on McBride's status ahead of season 9, but here's hoping that Carol can survive the All Out War saga and live to fight another day. Season 9 may only have just been confirmed, but expect casting calls and returning confirmations to start coming thick and fast when Walking Dead returns for its midseason premiere.
The number of original cast members dwindles to just this trio following Carl's upcoming demise and Lennie James' Morgan leaving for Fear The Walking Dead. It puts Rick, Daryl, and Carol in a precarious situation when you consider all three firm fan-favorites of the series, and means their eventual departures will be all the more shocking. For the time being though, audiences can sigh a slight sigh of release that at least Rick and Daryl seem to be safe from a wire-wrapped baseball bat and the impending stench of death.
The Walking Dead season 8 continues Sunday, February 25 on AMC.