Andrew Lincoln leaving ‘The Walking Dead’ in Season 9

Andrew Lincoln leaving ‘The Walking Dead’ in Season 9

Andrew Lincoln leaving ‘The Walking Dead’ in Season 9

Andrew Lincoln is set to leave The Walking Dead during the upcoming season, per a new report from Collider. For anyone who's avidly been following the show since its premiere in 2010, this is a huge bummer-as perhaps the only comparably cool character on the show is Norman Reedus' Daryl Dixon. AMC's version opened on Rick and his story, and continued to make him the ongoing plot's principal focus in all the seasons that followed. Reedus also has an 18-year-old son with ex-girlfriend model Helena Christensen.

Andrew Lincoln will be leaving The Walking Dead by the end of season 9. Contracts for both Black Panther star Danai Gurira, who plays the character Michonne, and Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie Rhee, end soon as well.

According to Collider, Lincoln will be appearing in just six episodes of the forthcoming ninth season, and his departure will happen before the finale. Original cast member Chandler Riggs was written out of the series in the middle of Season 8, with his character Carl Grimes opting to commit suicide rather than transform into a walker. After ABC picked up Whiskey to series for a midseason bow, it closed the door on Cohan's full-time return to the series - even if she had closed a new deal. Ratings have increased for Fear the Walking Dead, which was retooled into a superior creative series with a Western theme that is working brilliantly for the spinoff. Can the show survive without its lead?

AMC has yet to announce when season nine of the dystopic drama will air, but most expect it to come in October, which is when the show has begun the last eight seasons.

Norman Reedus is supposedly getting a substantial raise to take over the show's lead role. If the show sticks to its tried-and-tested (see: predictable) formula, this nearly certainly means Rick will kick the bucket in the mid-season finale.

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