Fall TV Preview

The Walking Dead Season 9 Photos: Rick's Final (?) Family Photo Suggests a Heartbreaking Goodbye Is in Store

the-walking-dead-andrew lincoln leaving final season 9 photos rick

Season 9 of The Walking Dead is more than a month away, but already, the prospect of Andrew Lincoln’s departure as Rick is making us verklempt. And the AMC drama isn’t making it any easier to think about saying goodbye, either!

One of a handful of new images released ahead of the Sunday, Oct. 7, premiere may just be the final family portrait that we ever get of the embattled protagonist, daughter Judith (aka Little Ass Kicker) and girlfriend Michonne. Making the image feel even more like a punch to the gut is the fact that the scene it depicts is so damn sweet — a real rarity on TWD, any fan will tell you.

In July, new showrunner Angela Kang revealed to TVLine that, since sparing archenemy Negan’s life, Rick has “gotten to a place where the goal is no longer just to survive. Now he wants to build the future that Carl envisioned. So he starts the season in a place of relative peace.”

How he’ll finish it remains to be seen. Lincoln said at the series’ San Diego Comic-Con panel that he “wants to do something special on the way out.” And executive producer Robert Kirkman promised that Team TWD had “something amazing planned.”

To check out the family photo as well as pictures that hint at unrest among the Saviors, click on the gallery to the right or go here for direct access. Then hit the comments: Is there any character you’d be sorrier to lose than Rick?

GET MORE: Fall TV Preview, Photo Gallery