Season 9 was the season The Walking Dead changed, perhaps, forever. It was the season Andrew Lincoln, the longtime lead of the ensemble cast, left the show. Sure, he’ll be back for a Walking Dead movie, but Norman Reedus won’t get to see his buddy in the day-to-day happenings of the zombie apocalypse.
In Entertainment Weekly‘s exclusive behind-the-scenes clip from the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of season 9, the cast bid Lincoln adieu with tributes to his contributions on the AMC drama.
“Everybody knows he’s one of my best friends ever,” Reedus says in the video above. “I would talk to Andy on the way to set. As soon as we got back in the car, I was talking about the day. He ate lunch in my trailer every day for nine years.”
Lincoln’s goodbye-for-now to the character of Rick Grimes came in the midst of The Walking Dead season 9, which saw the surviving communities adapting to life after Negan’s rule.
For Danai Gurira, who herself is leaving The Walking Dead with season 10, Lincoln helped make “coming to work really really awesome.” She said, “It was connection, it was community, it was generosity, it was respect.”
Even as the show delves into the Whisperers from the comics with a mysterious organization marked by three rings lingering in the peripheral, Lincoln’s presence lives on. “His example of leading a show, I think he should give a masterclass,” Pollyanna McIntosh chimed in.
The complete ninth season comes home on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital on Tuesday.