In what it is calling an “exclusive,” entertainment website Collider is reporting that Andrew Lincoln will be leaving AMC’s zombie drama The Walking Dead during season 9.
Lincoln, who plays series lead Rick Grimes, is one of the few remaining cast members from season 1 and has anchored the show’s plotlines since the pilot. Collider does not name any official sources, but indicates that Lincoln will only be a part of the upcoming ninth season for six episodes.
Series regular Lauren Cohan, who has played Maggie Green Rhee since season 2, was a contract hold out after season 8 and reportedly will also only be back for six episodes in season 9. Cohan has been filming movies in the off-season and recently filmed a TV pilot for a show called Whiskey Cavalier. That show was picked up by ABC.
According to Collider, fellow season 1 veteran Norman Reedus, who plays fan-favorite Daryl Dixon, has been offered a significant financial insentive to move into the lead spot.
So far, there is no official word from AMC or The Walking Dead’s producers on the changes.
Loyal readers might recall that earlier this month, we named Rick Grimes as the Walking Dead character who most needed to die.