After months of reports and speculation, Andrew Lincoln officially announced during The Walking Dead panel at San Diego Comic-Con the other week that he’s going to leave the zombie drama behind after the upcoming ninth season. Seeing as the British actor has been the protagonist of the show since the very beginning, this is without a doubt the most significant exit TWD‘s ever had.
But why exactly is Lincoln deciding to call it quits now after so many years? Well, it seems that what we’ve been hearing over the last few weeks is right. That being that the actor’s family is one of the main reasons for why he’s departing. After all, it’s got to be hard to see them given that The Walking Dead shoots in Atlanta and Lincoln’s from the UK.
Speaking to EW in a recent interview, here’s what he shared:
“I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older. It was that simple. It was time for me to come home.”
When asked for some plot details on season 9, Lincoln wouldn’t spill much, but did say:
“The world is deteriorating. Food is scarce, the Hilltop’s the main sort of food source, communications are breaking down, we don’t have gas anymore and we’re on horseback, and we’ve run out of bullets. So there is an enormous pressure on this group.”
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As for how Rick will be written out, that we don’t yet know. He could take the traditional TWD route of being killed off in gory, violent fashion or, just maybe, he may survive and simply move on to pastures new. You may think the second option unlikely, but Lincoln reminded us at SDCC that Morgan Jones recently did something similar at the end of season 8.
Rick’s exit from the show might be even sooner than we think, too. From what we’ve heard, he’ll only be in the first six episodes of the run. This has been supported by the fact that Lincoln’s been spotted arriving back in the UK while filming continues in Atlanta, Georgia.
Is he just taking a little break, or is this really all we’ll see of Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead season 9? Tune in later this year to find out.