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Andrew Lincoln to exit The Walking Dead but Norman Reedus cuts new deal

The Walking Dead

Story by Jack Foley

ANDREW Lincoln is to leave hit zombie series The Walking Dead during its forthcoming ninth season.

The British actor has played beleaguered former sheriff Rick Grimes since the show’s premiere and is widely accepted as the face of the drama.

According to sources quoted by The Hollywood Reporter, Lincoln will be phased out in the forthcoming season in a fashion similar to co-star Lauren Cohan, who will film only six episodes of the series.

Lincoln and Cohan are two of the few remaining survivors of the original cast. However, another – fan favourite Norman Reedus, aka Daryl – will continue and is in the midst of negotiating a rich new deal that will pay him more than $20 million as he becomes the new focal point of the series.

Lincoln’s decision to leave the show won’t be that much of a surprise to those that have been following the actor’s interviews in recent times. But it does pose a problem for the show’s creators given that his character remains the focal point of creator Robert Kirkman’s comic series, upon which the AMC drama is based.

It means that the series will once again have to deviate from the source material – although, again, the writing team have done that before (most notably with the death, in season eight, of Rick’s son, Carl, who is also still very much a part of the ongoing comics series).

Lincoln, for his part, still lives with his family in London and returns to the show’s Atlanta set for the lengthy production schedule.

He has made no secret that he sees his time with The Walking Dead coming to an end sooner rather than later after Rick’s death was foreshadowed multiple times in a season-eight storyline that wound up being part of Carl’s death.

Lincoln’s co-star Cohan, who pays Maggie, had already opted to exit the highly rated AMC drama after booking the lead in ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier.