It’s definitely coming, we just don’t know exactly when.
Andrew Lincoln is leaving The Walking Dead during the first half of season 9, but the circumstances of how protagonist Rick Grimes will be written out of the long-running AMC drama have yet to be revealed. It could happen, as you’d expect, in the mid-season finale. Or they could surprise us and have a shock exit just a few episodes into the run. At this point, it’s hard to say.
Going by these newly-released synopses, though, we think we might’ve worked out the truth. First off, episode 9×05 is called “What Comes After” and promises to be a Grimes-centric hour, telling us that “Rick is forced to face the past as he struggles to maintain the safety of the communities and protect the future he and Carl envisioned.”
Curiously, the synopsis for 9×06 – titled “Who Are You Now?” – hasn’t been released as yet. Given how the prior episode’s clearly all about Rick though, there’s surely only one reason the synopsis can’t be revealed, and that’s because it’d have to address the fact that he’s exited the show, right?
Notably, the synopses for both 9×07 and 9×08 don’t mention Rick by name. First, the episode titled “Stradivarius” is described as follows: “Carol seeks out an old friend living alone in a wilderness teeming with walkers; survivors make the perilous trek to a new home.”
Last but not least, the mid-season finale is titled “Evolution” and its synopsis reads: “A small rescue mission braves a dangerous herd in their hunt for a missing comrade, only to discover a surprising threat that could doom them all.” The Whisperers, perhaps?
As for how Rick will be written out, everyone expects him to killed off as per the grand tradition of TWD, though Lincoln’s been careful not to confirm or deny that. If our deductions are correct, though, what we do know is that he’s only got a short number of weeks left on The Walking Dead.