Andrew Lincoln May Be Leaving 'The Walking Dead'

Since its inception in both the comic book and TV show The Walking Dead has had Rick Grimes as the main character.  After waking up to the zombie apocalypse after an officer-involved shooting induced coma, Rick Grimes has been our audience avatar for the entirety of both the comics and TV show.  Rick has endured a lot.  Waking up to the end of the world, his wife's death, his daughter's death (comic), and his son's death (TV show), Rick's been through the ringer on many occasions and still managed to come through triumphant.  Well, it looks like Season 9 of The Walking Dead may be the end of Rick Grimes.

According to Collider (verified via Comicbook.com) Season 9 is going to be actor Andrew Lincoln's last season on the show. Even worse news for the show is that he may only appear in six episodes. The season is currently in production in Atlanta now, but the news has confirmed through multiple sources that Lincoln will be stepping away from the show.  Lincoln has been wanting to return back to the UK to spend more time with his family, away from the Atlanta-based set of The Walking Dead.  AMC has yet to confirm or announce the new just yet, so take it with a grain of salt until we truly find out.

This means that many of the main "Atlanta Originals" are gone.  After Carl's death last season (a big departure from the comics), Rick and Darryl (Norman Reedus) are the only remaining members of the original cast.  In addition to Rick possibly leaving the show, Maggie's (Lauren Cohan) role on the show next season will be significantly reduced as her current contract is only for six episodes.

While the show could continue without Rick (creator Robert Kirkman has always said that everyone's expendable, even Rick), his shoes would be very hard to fill.  Who would become the defacto leader or Alexandria?  Darryl?  Jesus?  Maybe a reformed Negan?  And can The Walking Dead survive without Rick?  We'll just have to find out when The Walking Dead returns this fall.