It’s going on seven days since we first learned of Andrew Lincoln’s decision to leave The Walking Dead after season 9 – or, rather, half of it – and still, many are struggling to wrap their heads around this undisputed bombshell.
His on-screen character, Rick Grimes, will seemingly be phased out of AMC’s flagship drama in the coming months, as the series shifts gears and braces for an entirely new era. Andrew Lincoln will be sorely missed, of course, as Rick Grimes and The Walking Dead are practically synonymous – so much so, that viewers have already launched a petition asking Lincoln to stay – but the show’s frequent director, Michael Satrazemis, believes life without Rick Grimes will be different, but no less entertaining.
In a now-deleted Instagram post (h/t ComicBook.com), Satrazemis vowed to maintain the same level of quality, even after Andrew Lincoln bids adieu to The Walking Dead for the last time.
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He contends that the entire team have spent the past eight years creating “something special,” and that desire to innovate and succeed won’t fizzle out once Lincoln departs.
Many of us have spent the last 8 yrs of our lives living, working, creating, high fiving, hugging and sometimes even bleeding real blood with Andy. All to make something special. He is one of the greatest men I’ve ever met. And a friend. The show will miss him as much as you. It will be different but it will still be great. All of us who love making [The Walking Dead] keep creating our asses off and sometimes even bleed for you.
For The Walking Dead, life without Rick Grimes begins later this year when the ninth season of AMC’s zombie drama makes its premiere. In the absence of Andrew Lincoln, fellow series veteran Norman Reedus will be elected leading man, while we know from previous reports that Lauren Cohan (Maggie Rhee) is also headed for the exit door.
It’s the end of an era, folks.