Departing star of The Walking Dead, Andrew Lincoln has said that he came incredibly close to quitting the popular AMC drama during season eight…
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Lincoln elaborated that he’s been planning to leave the show since season four: “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.’ 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.”
But why did Lincoln chose to remain as the beleaguered Rick Grimes? “Season 8 came and it got more complicated,” he said. “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!”
During Comic-Con 2017 Lincoln had a change of heart. “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.'” Lincoln laughs. “So that happened.”
And thus, Rick Grimes remained for one more season but he’ll be bidding farewell to the show next month when season nine kicks off.
The first episode of season 9 of The Walking Dead will air in the US on Sunday 7th October in the US and Monday 8th October in the UK.
We’ll continue to keep you updated on The Walking Dead.