‘The Walking Dead’: Andrew Lincoln Had Considered Leaving The Show From As Early As Season 4

While Andrew Lincoln has been considering his departure for a while, he wanted to make sure Rick Grimes got the story he deserved.

Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes, is set to leave in Season 9 of 'The Walking Dead'

While Andrew Lincoln has been considering his departure for a while, he wanted to make sure Rick Grimes got the story he deserved.

When news started to filter in recently about Andrew Lincoln wanting to leave AMC’s The Walking Dead, fans were shocked. After all, the character he plays, Rick Grimes, is considered the lead character and the show revolves around his actions and decisions. However, Andrew Lincoln has since revealed that he has been thinking about this show-altering decision from as earlier as Season 4 of the hit zombie apocalypse series.

According to an interview Andrew Lincoln did recently with Digital Spy at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, the urge to leave The Walking Dead started to crop up back when Season 4 was being filmed. At that time, Lincoln had his first conversation with Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple about the possibility of Rick Grimes being written out of the show.

“It was a lot to do with a conversation that Scott and I had a few years ago, maybe in Season 4, about a shape, and finding some way to complete something that was never going to be completed,” Lincoln explained.

However, while Lincoln was contemplating leaving the show, to him, it was important that his character had the full development he needed in order to complete his story arc. This meant having to wait it out until an opportune moment arose to write Rick out of the show.

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' Season 9, Lauren Cohan, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
  Gene Page / AMC

Now that confirmation of Andrew Lincoln’s departure is official, the actor is excited to see how the show will continue now that it is “freed up” from Rick’s narrative.

It has been clear, almost from the start, that Andrew Lincoln is leaving the show in order to spend more time with his own family in England.

“These guys here, and everybody back in Atlanta are the greatest surrogate family I could’ve wished for,” he said. “But I do have a real family and it is time for me to go home.”

As yet, it is still unclear whether Rick Grimes will be killed off completely in Season 9 of The Walking Dead or whether he will simply leave and have his story left open-ended like they are doing with Lauren Cohan’s character, Maggie Rhee, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.

Although, Andrew did offer this ambiguous statement to Digital Spy about what the future holds for the actor, which will likely have fans speculating that Rick Grimes could return in the future.

“There are a couple of things that I’m thinking about doing, but I’m so in love with Rick Grimes and the people in this show that I don’t know if I can put him down yet.”

However, unless an official confirmation comes through about Rick’s ultimate fate, fans will just have to wait until Season 9 premieres to find out for sure.

Season 9 of The Walking Dead will premiere on AMC on Sunday, October 7, at 9/8c.