Andrew Lincoln Will Reportedly Leave 'Walking Dead' in Season 9

TWD Head on Spike

In a 2015 USA TODAY interview during Season 5, Lincoln said he wasn't ready to leave, but that the show could continue without him. Although AMC has yet to comment on the shocking news, multiple sources are confirming that Season 9 will be Lincoln's last.

The Walking Dead stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Sonequa Martin-Green, Alanna Masterson, Christian Serratos, Josh McDermitt, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Austin Nichols, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Tom Payne, Austin Amelio, Xander Berkeley, Pollyanna McIntosh, Steven Ogg, and Katelyn Nacon.

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Lincoln has filled the role of Rick Grimes since the show first premiered in 2010, and has remained the show's main character just as he was in the original comic books it was based on.

It's the end of an era for The Walking Dead.

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Lincoln is expected to appear in just six new episodes, less than half of the 16 installments booked. Meanwhile, fan-favs like Daryl, Carol, Enid, King Ezekiel or Jesus could be bumped up to bigger leads - and thanks to The Walking Dead comics, there's a literal and figurative "New World Order" of storyline to propel things, and excite the fanbase over story, rather than characters. In addition, fans were completely stunned when the series made a decision to kill off the beloved character of Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), as it was always the thought that Carl would be endgame when and if Rick was ever killed off the show. After all, times are different, there's a vastly different set of measures at work between network TV and cable TV, and The Walking Dead is a ratings juggernaut that can endure a much longer plummet, and still put up ratings in its post-Lincoln diluted run that a lot of other shows only wish they could reach.

As fans tried to come to terms with the impending loss of Rick Grimes many expressed a combination of sadness, gratitude to Andy Lincoln for the years he's spent bringing Rick Grimes to life, and ambivalence about their future support of the show. Take that how you will.

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The 25-year old finished the campaign with 4 goals and 7 assists in 37 appearances across all competitions. The player yesterday spoke openly about the interest in him from Manchester rivals United and City.

What are your thoughts on Norman Reedus taking over as the lead actor on AMC's The Walking Dead? Fear the Walking Deadairs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC.

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