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Andrew Lincoln made headlines this summer when he announced that he was, in fact, leaving The Walking Dead during season 9. “I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older,” the star told EW. “It was that simple. It was time for me to come home.”
But — SURPRISE! — it turns out Lincoln may be back for season 10 after all, just not in the way we’re used to. The actor tells EW that he will actually be returning to the Senoia, GA set shortly (where the cast and crew is still filming season 9) to learn the directing ropes, with the plan of helming his own episode next season. “I’m going back,” says Lincoln. “I’m going back to shadow a director, and my intention is to direct next year.”
If those plans hold, that would make Lincoln the third actor in the Walking Dead franchise to also serve as a director. Fear the Walking Dead’s Colman Domingo (who plays Strand) recently helmed the “Weak” episode of that show, while Michael Cudlitz (who appeared as Abraham on TWD) returned recently to direct this season’s seventh episode, “Stradivarius,” which will air on Nov 18. In both instances, those actors shadowed directors on set before getting the job themselves, just as Lincoln will be doing himself.
Why return — even on a limited basis — to the series he just left? “I can’t be that far away because I can’t bear it,” laughs Lincoln. “That’s how much I am invested in the show and the continuation of the story.” And it appears Lincoln’s Walking Dead story just took a pretty big turn.
For more Walking Dead intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss