Unless you’ve been living in a hilltop hideaway, disused factory or fortified garbage dump, you’ve probably already heard that The Walking Dead‘s Andrew Lincoln won’t be appearing in every episode of the upcoming ninth season of the show.
Sure, that’s no biggie; there’ve been episodes without him before and the ensemble cast is now so well established that you can almost forget that he’s not there, if only for a second. But recent signs have pointed to the possibility that he may only appear in a handful of episodes and, *whispers* might actually get killed off.
Of course, nothing’s been confirmed as of yet, but earlier this week, the actor was photographed arriving back at London’s Heathrow airport. The slightly concerning thing? AMC have only just begun working on the sixth episode of the new season, so what’s Andy doing back in the UK?
See for yourself below:
Of course, Lincoln could just be taking a sabbatical from the show; with his on-screen son Carl now dead and Negan defeated (sort of), there’s not too much more for him to do anymore. Maybe he’ll just walk the earth, like Caine in Kung Fu? Either way, a prolonged absence from the show followed by a shocking return may just give The Walking Dead the ratings spike that AMC’s been failing to achieve over the past two seasons.
One thing’s for sure, if you hear Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” starting to strum into the scene, you’ll know that’ll be Grimes’ swansong. Talking to EW in 2014, Lincoln recalls texting then-showrunner Scott Gimple saying: “Promise me, when I die, on the credits sequence, you play Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt.”
The Walking Dead returns to AMC for its ninth season in the fall, and as soon as we have more details on Rick’s role, we’ll be sure to let you know.