With Andrew Lincoln on his way out of The Walking Dead in season 9, it’s thought that the man who’s led the show since its very first episode will leave a power vacuum – so who will be the one to fill it? The obvious option would be fan favorite character Daryl, as played by Norman Reedus. Sure enough, reports claimed that AMC was waving a lot of extra cash at the actor in order to make sure he’d stay and become the star of the show.
However, it seems this isn’t the case, after all. TVLine spoke with the cast of TWD and asked Reedus about the chances of him taking over from Lincoln when he leaves. The actor was quick to quash the idea and explained that it’s just an “internet story” that got blown out of proportion. According to Reedus, there’s no replacing the cast’s “quarterback.”
“I mean, that’s not happening. That’s an internet story that’s not true that somebody made up and they ran with it — some of those people can put something on social media and it turns into media outlet stories, which blows me away, but that’s not a true story. Rick is the quarterback of this football team, he’s always been, he always will be.”
So, maybe we shouldn’t really expect any one character to fill Rick’s shoes. Instead, The Walking Dead may become a true ensemble show, with no clear single protagonist. That’s certainly how Reedus feels about the subject, as he went on to say that other characters will simply step up to fill “leadership type roles” within the community.
“No one’s going to take over Rick’s place, that’s not happening. There are certain people that have been there for a while that will keep doing their roles, and some of those are leadership type roles, like Michonne is a person you would go to, Carol is a person you would go to, Daryl perhaps would be a person that you’d go to, or Ezekiel. There’s lots of us.”
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Hilariously, Jeffrey Dean Morgan then butted in with his own suggestion: “Negan,” the actor said, joking that his uber-villain could become the new hero of the show.
“Not Negan. Anybody but Negan,” Reedus counteracted, before once again making clear that Rick’s role won’t be usurped. “But no one will be replaced, that’s not how the show rolls, really.” This time Morgan agreed with Reedus and added: “It’s an ensemble show. It’s just time for everybody to kick it up a gear.”
Interestingly, in an online poll, fans actually voted for Negan as their pick to replace Rick as the new lead. And, funnily enough, Morgan has teased that his character will have a redemptive arc in season 9, so maybe AMC has decided to listen to the viewers to some extent?
We’ll just have to wait and see what happens following Rick’s shocking exit when The Walking Dead returns on October 7th.