It was revealed this week that there’s going to be a new sheriff in town for the upcoming ninth season of The Walking Dead. Reports emerged that Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes, the once-reluctant group leader, will only appear in six episodes of the new season before departing for good and as such, there’s now speculation that he’s about to go the same way as his son, Coral – sorry, Carl – and bite the dust
Following this, Lincoln’s co-star and real life BFF, Norman Reedus, went on an emotional Instagram rant about how much he’ll miss his running partner. But as he’s a man of few words himself, he did it in the style of his on-screen character Daryl, and simply posted a picture of a bro-hug between the pair with a simple heart emoji caption.
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Hopefully easing the pain somewhat was the $20 million contract that was reportedly offered to Reedus to stick with the show in Lincoln’s absence, presumably to take over the soon-to-be leaderless Rick-tatorship. Although last season spent considerable screen time elevating Maggie to a leadership position, it’s also being reported that, similarly to Lincoln, actor Lauren Cohen will only appear in half a dozen episodes herself.
How Reedus will fare as the show’s anchor remains to be seen: he’s undoubtedly the most popular character, evolving from hick to hero over the course of the series, but he’s also proven to be questionable leadership material. Perhaps that’s what the show needs though, as season 8 continued a downward trajectory for both fan reactions and viewership.
The Walking Dead always felt like Rick’s story, with the protagonist seeming like he was bulletproof, so perhaps the group being in uncertain hands will now give AMC’s hit zombie drama the bite it’s been missing for all these years?