Andrew Lincoln

SPOILER ALERT: Even though it has been widely reported, if you haven’t yet watched ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8, there are SPOILERS ahead!

If you thought Season 8 of ‘The Walking Dead’ was shocking, it appears that things are just getting started.  The hit AMC zombie series threw fans of both the TV series and Image comic books when they killed off the most unlikely of cast members, young Carl Grimes, played by Chandler Riggs.  Now there are rumblings that Maggie (Lauren Cohan) may be written out in the upcoming eighth season, due to Cohan taking the lead role in a separate series, ABC’s ‘Whiskey Cavalier’.  But are you ready for the biggest twist yet?  It appears that the show’s lead, Andrew Lincoln is walking away from his role as Rick Grimes.

It appears that Collider has some inside scoop on the upcoming season, but they aren’t spilling many details but did state that Lincoln will only appear in six episodes.  (Season 8 consisted of 16 episodes total.)  Cohan is also expected to appear in just six episodes, but they may or may not be the same six.

AMC has reportedly offered a substantial contract to Norman Reedus to not only stay aboard as fan favorite Daryl Dixon, but to move into the spotlight as the series’ star.  Though Daryl has been a breakout favorite and heartthrob for most of the series, he is usually a quiet loner that either hangs in the fringes or runs off on his own.  It should be interesting to see what the show’s creators come up with to make him the focus of the show.

There was no reason given for Lincoln’s departure, but it’s unlikely that it was the producers or AMC’s choice.  It’s no secret that shooting ‘The Walking Dead’ is a grueling endeavor.  It’s possible that after eight seasons, Lincoln was just ready to leave the blazing hot Atlanta summers behind and seek less physically demanding work.  There is also the emotional demands, as Rick had to cope with the death of his son in Season 8.

When Cohan played hardball with the producers, she found herself highly sought after by a number of other projects before settling on ‘Whiskey Cavalier’.  And this year, Danai Gurira who plays Michonne has already starred in two movies that have grossed over a billion dollars each, ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’.  Maybe the cast is just starting to realize that they could be moving on to bigger and better projects without the physical and emotional demands of ‘The Walking Dead’.

It also must be stated that ratings have been steadily declining for the hit series, with some of that fueled by fan outrage over certain character deaths.  In January a new showrunner, Angela Kang, was announced as taking over so that Scott M. Gimple could focus on overseeing all things-‘Walking Dead’.

Will you stop watching ‘The Walking Dead’ once the central figure departs?