We’ve all been through a lot with Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes over the course of the The Walking Dead, but things are wrapping up for him now in the upcoming ninth season. We already knew that Lincoln was going to leave the show, with the actor explaining that he’s already filmed his last episode, and now we’re hearing that the manner of his departure will mean that we probably won’t see him in the second half of the season.
The news comes via comic book publisher Skybound, who when answering a question on the show’s official fan mail site said the following:
“Since Andy has mentioned he’s already filmed his last episode, it’s unlikely we’d see him in the second half, but never say never! Flashbacks, time jumps, dreams – maybe they filmed somesecond-halff scenes early. We’ll find out soon enough.”
We don’t know under which circumstances Grimes will make his exit, but let’s face it, this is The Walking Dead and generally its characters don’t depart the show underneath sunshine and rainbows. My money’s on him dying a particularly gruesome death, perhaps finally becoming one of the walkers he’s spent so long battling against. I’m sure AMC respects the work Lincoln’s put into making the series a global smash hit and no matter what they do, they’ll surely give him a memorable death.
Of course, if he were to snuff it, it’d be just one facet of some big changes coming this season. Joining Lincoln in leaving the show is Lauren Cohan’s Maggie, while there are also persistent rumors that with Danai Gurira’s career having hit the accelerator after roles in Black Panther, the next Star Trek movie and the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong, among others, she’s simply too busy to reprise Michonne full-time.
With some fans saying that the series felt like it was running out of steam in season 8, perhaps some fresh blood is precisely what The Walking Dead needs to keep ticking along. If you were to ask me, I say give us new characters, new stories and new situations to sink our (moldy, green, zombified) teeth into!