Perhaps the most shocking exit in The Walking Dead‘s nine year history is still to come, as Andrew Lincoln’s set to leave the show during the first half of season 9. While other major characters have come and gone, Rick Grimes has always stuck around as the show’s anchor, but that’ll all change in the next few months.
Of course, the TWD cast have grown extremely close over the years, and we’ve heard before how sad it was for them to say goodbye to Lincoln, particularly those who’ve been working with him for the longest time. In fact, Norman Reedus – who’s now the joint oldest cast member on the series alongside Melissa McBride – admitted to ComicBook.com recently that he tried to convince his co-star to stick around when he found out he was planning to leave.
“He told me like ages in advance and, of course, I tried to talk him out of it and, ‘Move your family to New York! I’m in New York, you know it’s an hour and a half!’ I did all of the tricks but I understood why he left, you know, I get it. I totally get it. He had two kids and you live a million miles away.”
As Reedus says here, as sad as it might be for those who work on the show and for the fans, it’s hard to argue with Lincoln’s reason for stepping away from The Walking Dead. The British actor has spent a lot of his time filming in Atlanta over the past few years and you can’t begrudge him for wanting to go back home and be with his family.
Besides, though Rick likely won’t be seen again once his farewell storyline comes to a close this year, Lincoln doesn’t plan on staying away from the show for good. He’s already planning on directing an episode in season 10 and if that goes well, we imagine he may get behind the camera a few more times, too.
Before that, though, we can look forward to The Walking Dead season 9 returning this Sunday, October 7th, on AMC.