In the wake of a Collider report that Andrew Lincoln will be leaving The Walking Dead during the AMC drama’s upcoming Season 9, we are left with a question: What would the show be like without Rick Grimes?
On one hand, it would be a shock to viewers’ systems — and a terrible blow. Rick is one of the series’ only three remaining original characters, and Lincoln has consistently delivered Emmy-caliber work. So losing the leading man and his resilient alter ego would be the equivalent of a dagger to a walker’s head.
On the other hand, after watching Rick suffer so many losses (Lori! Glenn! Carl!) over so many years, we have to have seen every variation of grief that Lincoln, or anyone, could possibly play. And, since the show’s narrative tends to lurch back and forth between war and peace, vengeance and forgiveness, his (and others’) story arcs run the risk of feeling like “been there, done that.”
That being the case, perhaps a Walking Dead without Rick wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Perhaps a Walking Dead with Daryl front and center — or Carol or Michonne — would give the drama the same kind of shot in the arm that Fear the Walking Dead’s Season 4 reset has given it.
That’s not to say that losing Lincoln and Rick wouldn’t hurt like hell. (Some of us are still reeling from the decision to kill off Chandler Riggs’ Carl.) It’s merely suggesting that maybe, just maybe, an interesting new perspective might arise, walker-like, from the death of our hero.
What do you think? Would you watch The Walking Dead without Rick? Who would you make the series’ central character? Hit the comments.