Andrew Lincoln Is Reportedly Leaving 'The Walking Dead'

Andrew Lincoln star of

This is very unexpected news and fans of The Walking Dead ain't gonna be best pleased because Andrew Lincoln is set to exit the series in the upcoming ninth season, according to Entertainment Weekly. Not only is Lincoln's character at risk in season 9, but Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie Rhee, is expected to be exiting the show as well after her appearance in six episodes of the next season.

AMC has yet to confirm if The Walking Dead season 9 - which began filming earlier this month - will serve as Lincoln's final season.

The actor, who has been the star of the show since its 2010 premiere, will exit one season after his onscreen son Chandler Riggs did.

The news comes via Collider, which reports that The Walking Dead Season 9 will be the actor's last. What's more, Lincoln's Rick is still the focal point of creator Robert Kirkman's comic series on which the AMC drama is based.

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According to THR, the actor is now in the midst of negotiations, and if things work out, he may be getting north of $20 million for being the lead of the series.

The reason for Lincoln's departure isn't entirely clear. There is no word of how the character is going to leave, but no matter what, it's going to make a huge impact on the series.

The Walking Dead has said goodbye to plenty of significant characters over its eight-season run, but it may be about to suffer its biggest loss yet: former sheriff's deputy and survivor leader Rick Grimes.

The only other original character from the first three seasons is Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), who coincidentally has had an intense connection with Daryl over the seasons. Can the show survive without its lead? Cohan will be playing the lead in ABC's Whiskey Cavalier to series for a midseason bow. Series showrunner Scott Gimple was promoted to a role that oversees "The Walking Dead" and its spinoff, "Fear the Walking Dead", with writer Angela Kang filling his role.

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