Fans of the The Walking Dead should expect a few changes in the next year, and that includes having to say goodbye to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). According to multiple sources, Lincoln will be leaving the show, and will only appear in six episodes in season 9 before his exit.
“Andrew is leaving because he’s had enough of it and wants to focus his energy on movies,” an insider reveals.
Grimes took down Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in season eight, and Lincoln said that his character is always going to have a sense that he has lost the most important parts of himself, but he does have the legacy and gift Carl gave him, and that will fuel his future ambitions.
The 44-year-old actor also says that – and his son – gives Grimes a renewed purpose, and he is a new man who has changed radically.
Another change coming to the show is that Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) will appear in just six of the first eight episodes of season 9, and it isn’t clear if she will be in the second half of the season at all. Thanks to her time on The Walking Dead, Cohan went from virtual unknown to a big Hollywood name, and she booked the lead in the new ABC action-drama Whiskey Cavalier, with Scandal star Scott Foley. So, she will appear in both shows, and that means splitting her time between Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Cohan has been on the show since season two, but she says there is still more of Maggie’s story to tell, and she will be coming back to the AMC drama. However, it makes sense that she is ready to do something different. Reports had surfaced that the show’s producers were trying to work out a deal with Cohan after she asked for a big pay raise so she could be on a more equal playing field with her male co-stars.
Obviously, they reached an agreement, but we don’t know the details of her new deal.
At the end of last season, Maggie and Rick appeared to be on a collision course since he decided not to kill Negan, even though she wanted him dead after the Savior leader brutally caved in her husband Glenn’s skull. But, Rick had his reasons for making that choice. And even though it is hard for fans to imagine the two going to war after all they have been through, the post-apocalypse often leads to unexpected things.
With Cohan’s career changes and limited availability, is it possible that Maggie will be the next fan favorite to meet their maker? Killing off a pregnant woman may not be the most popular twist in the storyline, but back in season three they did kill off Lori Grimes during childbirth, and her son shot her, so the show isn’t scared to push the limits of good taste.
Meanwhile, fans will get to see more of Daryl Dixon because Norman Reedus has negotiated a $20 million paycheck to return for another season.
New episodes of The Walking Dead will return to AMC this fall.