The Walking Dead has seen what feels like an endless amount of beloved characters die over its past seven seasons. However, one person we’ve always felt was safe is Rick Grimes. Andrew Lincoln’s former deputy sheriff has remained at the core of the show throughout, so it would be near-impossible to continue on without him. Right? Right?
Well, the cast and crew of The Walking Dead aren’t so sure. When asked by Entertainment Weekly whether Rick’s place as protagonist could ever be passed onto his son Carl, Andrew Lincoln was enthusiastic and even claimed that the series is “set up for that.”
“Absolutely. It’s beautifully set up for that — for the camera to be certainly his story, and then it just shifts off. If ever there was a landscape or an environment to do that, it’s our show. But whether or not that’s this season… well, you have to find out, don’t you?”
Showrunner Scott Gimple echoed Lincoln’s statements, although he made it clear that he doesn’t want to see his lead actor go anywhere just yet.
“Absolutely. We’ve just scratched the surface of this world. We don’t want to go on without Rick Grimes, but again, in year 20, in year 30, who knows? We lose terrific actors and terrific characters because that’s part of the narrative and we’re always forced to go on and figure out a way to make the narrative work and to make it the best show possible after losing people. So I don’t think any show is more prepared, sadly, to lose people than The Walking Dead is. As the show goes on and on and on, who knows? But I’m also certain that we will do it in a way that only adds to the narrative and only makes the story richer for losing these incredible people.”
Finally, The Walking Dead‘s creator Robert Kirkland also weighed in on the issue. He was open to the idea, but was able to straight-up assure fans that Lincoln wouldn’t be exiting the show anytime soon.
“I think it could. Andy is the leader of this show and his dedication to the show is absolutely inspiring. Everyone just looks up to him and he’s a huge part of this show. But we have a very strong ensemble, and there’s a lot of characters that could carry the show. The Walking Dead is a story very much about a world and a bunch of people inhabiting that world… I don’t think we have to worry about that any time soon.”
If the hit AMC series is set to continue following the comic books as closely as it has recently, then we should have at least several seasons left of Rick Grimes, as the comics character is still alive and, uh, not exactly well, but at least he’s not dead. However, if Lincoln decides he wanted to bow out of the series at some point, then the writers would be forced to carve out a new path. At least we know they’d be confident about moving forward without him if it ever came to that.
The Walking Dead‘s eighth season premiere – also its 100th episode – lands on Sunday, October 22nd.