Strange as it still sounds to say, it bears repeating that indeed, Andrew Lincoln and Rick Grimes will be departing from the world of The Walking Dead with the series’ upcoming ninth season. The main character and protagonist who we have followed since the very beginning is now leaving the series. However, would you believe that this isn’t a sudden decision? That Andrew Lincoln didn’t just wake up one day between Season 8 and 9 that he was ready to leave?
No. In fact, this decision goes back as far as the fourth season of The Walking Dead, as Andrew Lincoln revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. He explained that he had spoken with series executives and producers like Scott Gimple to explain that he had originally planned to leave during the eighth and most recent season of the series:
“I had a conversation during season 4 with [executive producer] Scott Gimple about this. You know, we shared young families and there was a lot of synchronicity between the two of us that were two heads of a show that seemed to be getting bigger and bigger. We spoke about it and said, ‘There’s got to be a shape. We need a shape to work out if we get to season 5 then maybe we’ve got a couple more.’ There were all these ifs and buts and strategies. And I said, eight sounds like a good number.’”
So it sounds like Rick Grimes and Andrew Lincoln were set to exit The Walking Dead around the time of or the end of the war with Negan and the Saviors. It was envisioned as a chapter that would be seen as Rick’s falling. But that wasn’t the case, so what happened?
“Season 8 came and it got more complicated. I realized that rather than have the funeral, I had to prepare for the funeral and I had to make sure everybody was comfortable with the funeral arrangements. And I don’t think I was ready for the funeral! You know what I mean? I was like, I don’t think I’m ready to go yet!”
And it was at Comic Con of last year where Lincoln declared that he couldn’t leave The Walking Dead just yet:
“It was at Comic-Con that year that I made the decision that I couldn’t leave that year. I said to my wife, ‘I feel overwhelmed. I don’t think I’m ready. I can’t do it. I’ve got Norman, I’ve got Danai, I’ve got Jeffrey, I’ve got Melissa McBride, I’ve got Greg Nicotero — all these beautiful friends of mine and I don’t know if I can do it yet. I don’t know if it’s time.’ So that happened.”
How different do you think The Walking Dead might have turned out had Andrew Lincoln left in the eighth season? And how do you hope Rick Grimes will exit the series? Let us know in the comments below.
Source: Entertainment Weekly