During this year’s Walking Dead panel at San Diego Comic-Con, star Andrew Lincoln broke the hearts of fans when he confirmed that he would, in fact, be leaving the show during Season 9.
While The Walking Dead has said goodbye to more than its fair share of stars over the course of nine seasons, but none as big as this. Rick Grimes is hands down the most important character on the series, so the decision to leave was undoubtedly a difficult one.
After The Walking Dead’s panel, ComicBook.com attended a press conference with the show’s stars and producers, and Lincoln was asked about his decision to leave the series, particularly when he started thinking about his exit.
“Well nine years I was thinking about it because that’s where we live,” Lincoln joked. “But I suppose it was a lot to do with the conversation that Scott and I had a few years ago, maybe in Season 4, about the shape and finding a way to complete something that was never going to be completed and not disturbing the mothership. There was a certain sense that the story has been a man waking up and you experience this world through this one man’s eyes and then it opens up into the extended family. Now, what’s exciting for me is that the narrative is being freed up from the beginning of the season. You’ll see in the trailer, it’s a different tone. It feels like the show I always thought that we would head toward from the time we wrapped the pilot. So yeah, in short, it was something that I starting to think about as my children got older and less portable.”
Lincoln is obviously referring to the finality of the show versus that of the comic book, which will likely continue running long after the TV series comes to a close. With no end in sight, the show had to find some way to bring Rick’s story to a close, and it looks like that will finally happen in Season 9.
The series will continue, however, as many of the other characters in the ensemble take a front seat following Lincoln’s exit.