Andrew Lincoln announces his departure from ‘The Walking Dead’

ANDREW LINCOLN Leaving THE WALKING DEAD - Report

Andrew Lincoln reportedly leaving "The Walking Dead" after Season 9

The Walking Dead actor Andrew Lincoln is leaving the show in the upcoming ninth season, according to Collider.

Collider shared that Lincoln's Rick will apparently only be featured in "half-a-dozen episodes" during Season 9 and Norman Reedus would then take on the starring role.

With Lincoln now set to exit the series, questions about the future of The Walking Dead will undoubtedly begin surfacing as season 9 draws closer to debuting later this year. Original cast member Chandler Riggs was written out of the series in the middle of Season 8, with his character Carl Grimes opting to commit suicide rather than transform into a walker.

As a pale shadow of it former self, The Walking Dead could continue for another five seasons without Andrew Lincoln. Alas, after almost nine seasons, it seems this may no longer be the case. Reedus - who, along with Lincoln and Melissa McBride (Carol), is one of the few actors remaining from season one - has been a fan favourite for as long as the show has been on air.

Ana - andrew lincoln/rick grimes is the most important person on the walking dead. idc what you say, there's no show without him.

There was speculation that Maggie Rhee could exit during the season eight finale, after confirmation that Lauren Cohan signed onto a new show, though she ended up staying put. Cohan will be playing the lead in ABC's Whiskey Cavalier to series for a midseason bow.

According to Collider, Rick Grimes will only be onscreen in six episodes of next season, which is now in production.

The Walking Dead returns this fall on AMC. In addition, AMC is expected to make the announcement ahead of Lincoln's last episodes.

Fans of the series have often showed their support for Daryl, namely with campaigns against killing off the loveable character.

It's not known what fate will befall Lincoln's character, whether he'll be killed off in customarily gruesome fashion, or head off into the distance.

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