Farewell, Rick Grimes.
Nearly two months after it was first reported that Andrew Lincoln is leaving The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman made news of the star’s exit official.
During an interview for IMDB with filmmaker Kevin Smith (first surfaced by The Hollywood Reporter), the Walking Dead comic creator and series executive producer was asked if the show’s upcoming ninth season would be Lincoln’s last. Kirkman’s response? “It’s looking that way,” he said, with a laugh.
“He cares about the fans,” Kirkman added of Lincoln. “He cares about the show deeply. He wants to do something special on the way out. We’ve got something amazing planned. I wouldn’t want to spoil anything, but anybody who’s been a fan of his journey, who loves Rick Grimes, who loves the world of The Walking Dead, you’re going to want to see what we do.”
AMC declined to comment when news of Lincoln’s exit first surfaced in May, but it’s likely the cast and team behind the show will face questions about his impending departure when The Walking Dead’s Comic-Con panel takes place on Friday. (Whether they answer those questions, however, is another story…)
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Earlier this month, executive producer Angela Kang — who is taking over showrunning duties from Scott M. Gimple — told EW that in season 9, fans will “see our group together working in unity in a lot of ways, but you’ll also see some changes in the way that they deal with each other. In some ways, you’ll see that [Rick’s] vision has succeeded beyond anybody’s wildest imagination. But you’ll also see the cracks in that.”
Lincoln has been with The Walking Dead since season 1. The show’s ninth season, which includes a time jump, returns to AMC in October.
Stay tuned to EW.com for coverage of Friday’s The Walking Dead panel and all things Comic-Con.