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Why Andrew Lincoln Left The Walking Dead During Season 9

Andrew Lincoln played Rick Grimes for nearly a decade on The Walking Dead, and here’s why he decided to leave the show during season 9.

Andrew Lincoln notably left The Walking Dead during season 9, but why did the Rick Grimes actor decide to depart? AMC launched one of the most popular TV show franchises of all time in 2010 with The Walking Dead, a series that remains popular over a decade later. Based on the acclaimed comic series by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead’s lead role of Rick Grimes was played by Andrew Lincoln. One of the reasons The Walking Dead gained such a big following was the frequency and unpredictable nature of major characters suddenly dying during the zombie apocalypse story. Surprisingly, the Rick Grimes actor’s departure wasn’t due to a character death, which is what made the reason why Andrew Lincoln left The Walking Dead all the more significant.


Although some character exits were expected based on the source material, The Walking Dead took plenty of creative liberties to keep the story exciting for all audiences. However, the likes of Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) seemed to be the mainstays of the show who would be included forever. That changed during season 9 of The Walking Dead when Rick Grimes was written out of the series. It was announced before the season that Andrew Lincoln would leave The Walking Dead, leading fans to wonder how Rick’s story would end. The Rick Grimes actor’s final appearance (for now) came during the fifth episode of season 9, but why did Andrew Lincoln leave TWD?

Related: Andrew Lincoln’s Favorite Episode Of The Walking Dead

As the unquestioned face of a major ongoing series like The Walking Dead, Andrew Lincoln spent nearly a full decade playing Rick Grimes. Fans might think that Lincoln’s decision to leave resulted from growing bored with the role, wanting a larger paycheck, or so that he could pursue bigger projects, but these aren’t the reasons why the Rick Grimes actor departed in The Walking Dead‘s well-liked season 9. The truth is that Andrew Lincoln left The Walking Dead because of his desire to be close to his family. The Walking Dead‘s Rick Grimes actor is a father of two young children, and they live at home in the UK. Since The Walking Dead‘s production takes place primarily in Atlanta and lasts several months, Lincoln wasn’t able to spend as much time at home as he’d like. Ultimately, Rick Grimes’ actor realized that in order to spend more time with his family, Andrew Lincoln would need to leave The Walking Dead.

Why Rick Grimes’ Actor Andrew Lincoln Left The Walking Dead

Andrew Lincoln’s decision to leave The Walking Dead proved to be a turning point for the series. Without its biggest character, the show had to turn its focus elsewhere and reinvent the story. TWD season 9’s six-year time jump coincided with Andrew Lincoln’s exit, which allowed The Walking Dead to show what happened to the core group of characters without Rick Grimes around. For the creators, writers, and viewers, the Rick Grimes actor’s departure seemed to be a blessing in disguise. The Walking Dead has been incredibly well-received afterward, and there is an endgame in mind with season 11 set to be the last. Reedus has even said that Andrew Lincoln told him he left The Walking Dead at the wrong time after seeing how good the show became.

Will Rick Grimes Return To The Walking Dead

Walking Dead Rick Grimes movie

The good news for Andrew Lincoln is that Rick Grimes still has an exciting future ahead in The Walking Dead‘s franchise. It wasn’t long after Andrew Lincoln left The Walking Dead that it was announced he would play the character again in a trilogy of theatrically released Rick Grimes-centered The Walking Dead movies. The first installment has yet to happen due to COVID-19 delays and the writers’ desire for extremely well-done films, so the Rick Grimes actor’s movies remain in pre-production. While some have theorized that Andrew Lincoln will return as Rick Grimes before The Walking Dead‘s season 11 finale, it’s more likely that the Rick Grimes actor won’t return until his own movies. It’s so far unknown what will occur in The Walking Dead‘s Rick Grimes movies, but after spending a few years away from the franchise to be with his family, Andrew Lincoln’s return to The Walking Dead‘s universe is bound to be exciting for all.

Next: Rick Grimes’ Movie Setup: TWD Reveals 8 Details In World Beyond Finale

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