Is it finally time for The Walking Dead to die?
Collider shocked fans of AMC's zombie apocalypse drama The Walking Dead earlier today by revealing that star Andrew Lincoln, who has played the show's protagonist Rick Grimes since its inception, will be leaving six episodes into Season 9.
Rick's replacement as the group's leader? None other than everyone's favorite bad boy with a crossbow, Daryl Dixon. The article states that "AMC has offered substantial compensation to long-running series star Norman Reedus to not only stay on board, but to take over the show’s leading role."
As a zombie drama, the show regularly has characters replaced with new ones, typically by killing them off in some shocking way, so change isn't unheard of. However, following the recent death of Chandler Riggs' character Carl Grimes, and Lennie James' character Morgan Jones moving over to the spinoff series Fear the Walking Dead, fans of TWD may be reluctant to accept the loss of another longtime favorite.
And if that wasn't enough transition for the show, the upcoming exit of Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee probably won't make things any easier. After a public stand for a better contract to appear in Season 9, Cohan will only appear in six episodes as well after her new series Whiskey Cavalier was picked up by ABC.
As a result, only Daryl and Melissa McBride's character Carol Peletier will be the only remaining characters from The Walking Dead's first season.
The Walking Dead is expected to return to AMC for Season 9 sometime in October 2018.