The Walking Dead Season Nine brought touches of nostalgia to Andrew Lincoln as he prepared to exit his role of Rick Grimes.
 
Speaking to ComicBook.com at San Diego Comic-Con, Lincoln opened up about the upcoming episodes which had just been previewed in a brand-new extended trailer. “Without a doubt,” there are vibes from the show’s first season, Lincoln says. “I think there were a lot of the pilot episode that was reminiscent of this opening episode and also a couple of other episodes, too. We have a few surprises as we both know but we’re not allowed to talk about.”
 
As the show heads into a pivotal year, not only seeing Lincoln out but also welcoming Angela Kang as its new showrunner, the cast and crew have experienced a revitalized feeling on set. “We loved it,” Lincoln said. “We have to talk about Angela Kang if we talk about this season because she is the creative force this season. She’s been on the show since Season Two and I think she’s breathed new life into it and given us a collaborative feel on set and also just an energy. A real positive energy. It feels like the show that I always thought we would get to when I shot the pilot in Atlanta nine years ago.”
 
In fact, the idea of actually having left the AMC series behind did not truly impact Lincoln emotionally until her saw the fans in Hall H. “The strange thing about being here was the fact that I think it really hit me yesterday because of the relationship that the show has with the fans here,” Lincoln said. After all, Hall H is where The Walking Dead began, promoting its first season in the packed room back in 2010.
 
“As soon as it finished, the panel, I walked off the stage, it was more profound — my sadness — the actually wrapping up on the show,” Lincoln said. “The show, I was so proud of the where the story was going and where the season was going. It’s a brilliant launching pad I think, the episode that I leave, into the rest of this incredible season. All of that was more than just ‘Oh, I’m pleased that I’ve completed it.’ This was, ‘Oh, f—.’ I’m leaving.”
 
Lincoln, like Robert Kirkman, is excited to share Rick’s sendoff although he would have preferred it be kept under wraps. “I wish I could say more,” Lincoln said. “I really didn’t want Kirkman to spill the beans because I really wanted everyone to experience this season, because I think it’s gonna be amazing for many, many reasons. It would’ve been even better if no one was aware of this.”
 
Will he die, though? Is that the only way out? “My relationship with this part is far from over,” Lincoln said. “I’m not gonna say anything more than that but I will say, ‘Watch this season.'”
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