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In news that will shock fans of The Walking Dead, lead star Andrew Lincoln is leaving the series.
The actor, who has starred as Rick Grimes since the hit zombie show’s first episode in 2010, will reportedly only feature in half a dozen episodes in season nine before being “phased out”.
At present, there are no exact details about how Lincoln will exit the show, but it’s rumoured that Norman Reedus, who plays lovable redneck Daryl Dixon, will become the show’s main character.
“There are lots of unanswered questions, and we owe a debt to all of the viewers to answer a few of those,” Lincoln said in February when asked about Rick’s rumoured death.
“So, yes, once they’re answered, there is an endgame. I’ve said it before. There’s certainly an endgame in my head.”
Earlier this year, Lincoln hinted at his exit, saying, “there’s certainly an endgame in my head. Whether or not that’s the same endgame that’s in the producers’ heads or the people I work with, is another matter. That’s open for discussion.”
Speaking of the season eight finale, former showrunner Scott M. Gimple said, “We knew for a long time that season [eight] was, in many ways, the end of a chapter of the show.
“The differences that people will be seeing in season nine and beyond are going to be pronounced. It’s going to be a very different show with characters handling very different issues, challenges and threats than we’ve seen before. These characters will be different in a lot of ways.”