Andrew Lincoln Reveals He Almost Left The Walking Dead In Season 8

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Yesterday saw the airing of the final episode of The Walking Dead to feature Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes. It’s truly the end of an era as the actor’s been the anchor of the zombie drama since its very beginning, outliving any number of his co-stars on the show. It’s interesting to learn, then, that the plans for Rick’s exit have been in the works for a long time.

Lincoln revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that the initial plan that he cooked up with former showrunner and producer Scott M. Gimple would have seen Rick leave TWD in season 8 instead. If this version played out, it’s likely that the character would’ve died. However, AMC had the idea to keep Rick alive for the exciting prospect of expanding the franchise with him involved.

“There were many iterations [of Rick’s endgame]. A lot of it was down to the good people at AMC, who just said no and they thought it would be an interesting and exciting proposition to expand rather than contract the show. Realistically, this decision was all about time.”

As he’s explained before, Lincoln decided he couldn’t continue on the show as he wanted to spend more time with his family back in England. However, he also didn’t want to leave the character and the world of The Walking Dead behind. The notion that he’ll instead go on to lead his own trilogy of movies as Rick Grimes, then, suited him perfectly.

“For me to want to do a limited number of episodes [of The Walking Dead] a year wouldn’t feel like I was doing my job properly because playing this part has been so all-encompassing. I think I would get frustrated with that. So the idea of being able to contain the story and still work just as hard and tell a different story in maybe a more expansive narrative way seemed very exciting to me.”

The fact that Lincoln could have left in season 8 makes a lot of sense, now that he says it. The actor’s been teasing that The Walking Dead could exist without him since the run-up to the eighth season. Given that it was Rick’s son Carl who ended up dying last year, we assumed that was a clever bit of misdirection on the actor’s part. However, it’s now clear that Lincoln was being genuine and he really thought that he could have left The Walking Dead back then.

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