Andrew Lincoln reveals he planned on leaving The Walking Dead in season 8


Andrew Lincoln will leave The Walking dead for good in season 9 of the series, but reveals now he planned to exit one season sooner.

Fans of The Walking Dead are preparing to say goodbye to Andrew Lincoln’s character Rick Grimes, as he is set to exit the show after season 9. The exact fate of the character will not be known until the season plays out, but it wouldn’t be ridiculous to think the show will offer Rick a fitting and devastating death. He could end up with a less gruesome ending, but only time will tell.

Despite fans mourning the soon-to-come loss of the show’s iconic lead, they can take solace in knowing that things could have turned out worse. Lincoln was originally supposed to leave the show during season 8, and, Lincoln’s plan for leaving the show was actually put into place all the way back in season 4.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lincoln was asked about when he knew he was going to leave the show. He revealed he spoke with executive producer Scott Gimple about all of this many seasons ago.

"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. Eight seasons was certainly something. Last season was a shape that I had in my head and it was certainly something that Scott was possibly thinking about as well that was a completion of a certain chapter which could be called Rick’s falling."

If Lincoln and producers had been planning on having Rick leave the show in season 8, what kept the character around for another season? According to Lincoln, it’s because the show and the storylines got more complicated.

"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!"

Lincoln actually decided at Comic-Con in 2017 that he would stay around on the show for a little longer. This is strangely fitting as a year later at Comic-Con is where he also announced his departure from the show. His co-stars were a big part of the reason why he wasn’t quite ready to leave in season 8.

"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."

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Fans will just have to wait to see what happens to Rick in his last season, but, no matter what, the show will likely be very different moving forward.

How do you think Rick Grimes will meet his end on The Walking Dead? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.