If you ask me, this news is another nail in the coffin for the once mighty THE WALKING DEAD series. Reports are that Andrew Lincoln who plays the lead Rick Grimes will be leaving the show after the upcoming 9th season. This might be the death knell for the series that has seen a large number of key cast members killed off in recent seasons and the future of other key cast members in question.
Almost unbelievable on a show where almost no one is said to be safe, the man who has played Rick Grimes since the beginning of the series based on Robert Kirkman’s comics could be gone by the end of the upcoming ninth season, I hear. With contract talks still underway and the season in production in Georgia, the exact parameters of that exit for the lead in the ensemble cast are being determined. At this point, it looks like Lincoln will be a presence in about six episodes of the new season.
The loss of Lincoln’s Grimes would be another radical departure for the show from its comic source material. A similar shift occurred in the Season 8 midseason return of TWD in February when Carl Grimes (played by Chandler Riggs) died after being bitten by a walker. In Kirkman’s comics, Carl survives well into the chaos of the infected world as does his father, though minus a hand.
With the loss of Lincoln, the only original cast member Norman Reedus will be moved up to series lead with a paycheck to match. Also, Lauren Cohan who plays Maggie is reportedly drastically cutting down her participation in the new Angela Kang-showrun season for a stint on ABC’s midseason replacement spy dramedy Whiskey Cavalier. Cohan was in a contract dispute with TWD before coming to terms that will see her in only about half a dozen episodes as the now Grimes resisting Maggie Rhee when the series returns in October.
Black Panther star Danai Gurira’s Michonne character’s future is unclear past the upcoming season nine as well.
The show will be going through some major cast changes past season nine and I’m not sure if the fans will want to stay with the show, myself as well. I hope the show can survive these major growing pains but that is yet to be seen.