It’s nearly here, guys. This Sunday will bring the final episode of The Walking Dead to feature Rick Grimes. Following the previous week’s shock cliffhanger in which the character got impaled, season 9, episode 5 – titled “What Comes After” – will mark Andrew Lincoln bowing out of the role he’s played for almost a decade.
Naturally, this is the end of an era and many are wondering if the show can keep going without ol’ Grimey. Well, according to Norman Reedus at least, things are only going to get better as the season progresses. The man who brings Daryl Dixon to life revealed that Lincoln’s “kind of bummed” that he’s missing out on, well, what comes after.
“Let me say this, Andy’s been on set since he’s left but he’s like, you know, this show, it’s the best it’s ever been. He’s like I’m kind of bummed, it’s f— amazing right now, you know? And the truth is, it is. It got better. The band got tighter.”
Reedus went on to say that he feels there’s a real galvanized atmosphere on set as everyone’s committed to making the best show possible. For him, this all starts with the scripts – spearheaded by new showrunner Angela Kang – who’s pushing The Walking Dead in a new direction.
“We’re making the show that we want to make right now and you can feel it on set, you can feel it all over the place. I really feel the scripts and the stories and the episodes are even better in the back eight, I really do. They’re f—ing epic, you know, and they’re just crushing and they’re severe, all of them. The show’s morphing into something else but it’s got the heart and the feel of the original show, there’s just new life breathing through it.”
While we don’t know exactly where the series is going to take this storyline in comparison to the comics, we do know that season 9 will finally introduce the Whisperers, the creepy cult-like community of survivors led by Sammantha Morton’s Alpha. Producer Greg Nicotero has previously claimed that Alpha’s the best villain the show’s ever had. That’s a tall ask for the series that gave us the Governor and Negan, but we look forward to seeing if the hype from Reedus and Nicotero is on the money.
Be sure to catch Rick Grimes’ final hour on The Walking Dead 9×05 “What Comes After” this Sunday on AMC.