Back in May, we reported that Andrew Lincoln, who has led The Walking Dead for the past eight seasons, would be making his exit from the hit AMC series for its upcoming ninth season. That departure was confirmed at Comic-Con, and Lincoln spoke to EW about why it was time for him to hang it up as Rick Grimes.
It turns out, the reason for Lincoln’s departure is pretty straightforward—he wants to spend more time with his family, especially his children:
As for why the star is leaving the biggest TV series in basic cable history, the reason is simple: family. Lincoln lives in England and The Walking Dead shoots for over half the year in Georgia, keeping him away from his wife and kids for prolonged stretches of time. “I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older,” says the man who helped change the zombified face of television. “It was that simple. It was time for me to come home.”
That makes total sense, and eight years is a long time for anyone to spend on a TV series, especially one with as much turnover as The Walking Dead. While it makes sense for the show to continue (despite declining ratings, it’s still a juggernaut for cable), it’s clear that it has a path forward without Lincoln.
As for where the new season will take the characters, nothing ever gets easier:
“The world is deteriorating,” he says. “Food is scarce, the Hilltop’s the main sort of food source, communications are breaking down, we don’t have gas anymore and we’re on horseback, and we’ve run out of bullets. So there is an enormous pressure on this group.”
The ninth season of The Walking Dead premieres on ACM on October 7th.