Say goodbye to Rick Grimes: The Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln is indeed leaving the show after the upcoming Season 9, creator Robert Kirkman has confirmed.
In an interview with filmmaker Kevin Smith for IMDb at Comic-Con, Kirkman says with a laugh, “It’s looking that way,” when asked if Season 9 will be Lincoln’s last. (The Hollwyood Reporter first had the news.) It’s the first public confirmation of the news TVLine first reported back in May, with Lincoln set to appear in only a half-dozen episodes of AMC’s zombie thriller next season before exiting the show for good.
Since Lincoln’s character Rick is still alive and well in the Walking Dead comics, Kirkman admits that his departure “does make the differences between the comic and the show a little bit more pronounced.” But he supports Lincoln’s decision: “This is somebody that I’ve known for almost a decade, somebody that I love… he’s been sweating in Georgia away from his family for so long.”
As for Rick’s on-screen exit, Lincoln “wants to do something special on the way out,” Kirkman teases. “We’ve got something amazing planned… anybody who loves Rick Grimes, loves the world of The Walking Dead, you’re gonna want to see what we do.”
Season 9 of The Walking Dead — featuring Rick Grimes’ swan song as well as a significant time jump — premieres this October on AMC. Press PLAY below to hear Kirkman’s confirmation, and then tell us in the comments: Will you watch a Rick-less Walking Dead?