The bromance that launched a thousand ships nearly torpedoed ‘The Walking Dead’ for good, according to Norman Reedus. In May news broke that the show’s lead, Andrew Lincoln was scaling back to just six episodes for the upcoming ninth season and would be exiting the show entirely after that. After the brutal deaths of fan favorite characters in recent seasons, losing the focus of the series seems like a fatal blow, but the cast is large enough and has enough figures that fans love, that it seems reasonable that it could lumber on, even without Rick Grimes. But were the series to lose both Rick and Daryl Dixon? That seems a lot less likely and that’s almost the reality viewers would have had to face.
Reedus and Lincoln appeared together for an interview with Entertainment Weekly‘s Sirius XM radio station (Channel 105) when Reedus revealed, “We made a pact, I think it was like season 3 or 4. We’re like, ‘If you leave, I leave. Right?’ And that was the thing.”
Lincoln goaded him, “Are you leaving? Is this an announcement? Is this breaking news?”
To which Reedus came clean, “Oh, hell no.”
When news of Lincoln’s departure broke– something he confirmed and addressed this past weekend at San Diego Comic-Con– the buzz was that AMC had offered Reedus a pay increase and were retooling the show in order to set Daryl as its focal character.
Reedus did lament the loss of his set bestie, though, saying:
“He was the first person I saw in the morning. As soon as we wrapped, he immediately called me in the car. We speak all the time. We spent every lunch break in my trailer. We shared a trailer for forever.
“He set a precedent for us on this show. He set the bar very high right from the beginning, and we’re always trying to keep it real. And he’s always in our heads while we’re trying to do that. He’s made me a better actor, a friend, a father, all the way down the line. He’s a very, very important person to me.”
“When he told me he was thinking about doing this, I get it. I have a son in New York, and I’m constantly bouncing back and forth all these nine years to go see him. And I get it. He’s got two beautiful children, a beautiful wife. His whole family’s awesome, and you can’t be mad at him for going. It’s very understandable, but I’m going to miss the hell out of him.”
Lincoln might be departing the series, but he’s not turning his back on his best pal. Reedus admitted that he still conferred with Lincoln, asking for his acting advice for upcoming scenes, which Lincoln confirmed. So even with Rick gone, Lincoln will still make an impression on ‘The Walking Dead’.
‘The Walking Dead’ returns to AMC on October 7, 2018.