‘People are gong to be very happy by this season because we’re happy,’ says the star

By Dalton Ross
October 14, 2017 at 10:00 AM EDT

Ask Andrew Lincoln about the upcoming season of The Walking Dead and you’ll see a smile cross his face. That’s important, because what you hear him say next could be construed as mere publicity hype. But when you see the expression on the actor’s face, you can tell he believes profoundly in what he is saying.

“Season 8 is my favorite season for a long time,” says Lincoln. It feels likes we are back to the show —  and certainly the leader that I loved playing — in earlier seasons. And you see him sort of regaining his identity and his strength and becoming a new type of leader and sort of forming a new bond with other people that, up until this point, they haven’t existed. “

Yep, confident (and borderline cocky) Rick Grimes is back, and it will be a welcome return for fans that had to watch their hero cower in fear of the bully with the baseball bat last year. “I think people are going to be very happy by this season because we’re happy,” says Lincoln. “And there’s a definite palpable sense of swagger onset and a bounce onset and a pride in what we’re attempting to shoot. It’s a good feeling. And it’s 100 episodes. It’s a big deal. It’s a big, big deal.”

That landmark 100th episode will be the Oct. 22 season premiere and it will feature the first of many skirmishes between the two opposing sides in the all-out war. “It’s bigger and more ambitious than any other season we’ve ever attempted,” promises Lincoln. “Pretty much every day is a fun, fun day.”

Watch the video above to see Lincoln chat about season 8, and for more Walking Dead scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.