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Andrew Lincoln exiting The Walking Dead in season 9

30 May 2018

In related Walking Dead news, Lauren Cohan has also reportedly only signed on for six more episodes.

And with the prospect of no more Rick show runners over at The Walking Dead are doing their best to shore things up, or it would seem that way at least.

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According to Collider, "The Walking Dead" will replace Lincoln/Grimes by moving Norman Reedus' popular character Daryl Dixon into the main role. His leaving the show doesn't necessarily mean that Rick will be dying, but it's the most likely exit strategy given that every other departure from the show has been through death on screen. Reedus is expected to do exactly that, with AMC having reportedly offered him "substantial compensation" to stick around and lead the cast.

These past couple seasons have been brutal for the series, and this past season saw the departure of Chandler Riggs, who played Karl in the show. Of course, Rick hasn't appeared in every episode of past seasons.

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The face of The Walking Dead is leaving the franchise. Unlike in the past, AMC was slow to announce a season nine renewal as the series was negotiating a larger pact with now-former showrunner Scott M. Gimple. Rick, Carl, and Maggie are all still alive in the comic book series that the show is based on. Collider states that AMC is looking to up Norman Reedus' pay to stay on board and to take over as the series' lead. "I don't know but certainly I really think the fans and my character deserves an end point as some time in the future".

Despite "TWD" showrunners maintaining the show doesn't evolve around one character, it's hard to overstate just how devastating a blow this is.

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For those living under a rock, The Walking Dead portrays life in the months and years that follow a zombie apocalypse.

Andrew Lincoln exiting The Walking Dead in season 9