Andrew Lincoln on His ‘Walking Dead’ Exit: ‘Nobody Is Bigger Than the Story’

San Diego Comic-Con 2018: Actor said he thinks “The Walking Dead” cast is “doing the greatest work I’ve ever seen” in Season 9

andrew lincoln walking dead san diego comic-con 2018

Andrew Lincoln discussed his exit from “The Walking Dead” at the end of Season 9 during AMC’s San Diego Comic-Con 2018 panel for the show, telling fans, “I love this show. It means everything to me.”

Lincoln said he was debating whether he would answer questions about the rumors that he was departing, but with “The Walking Dead” comic creator Robert Kirkman confirming the news, he decided to answer questions about it during the panel. Answering one fan’s question about any future roles, he said he will be “taking a break” after he departs the show.

He also used the opportunity to express appreciation for “The Walking Dead” fans, and everyone else who worked on the long-running AMC series.

“This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes,” Lincoln said, drawing an unhappy reaction from the crowd. “Now hear me out, please. I love this show. It means everything to me. I love the people who make this show. I promise not to cry. I’ve done enough crying on screen. I’m particularly fond of the people who watch this show, you people, and this has been the most extraordinary, amazing, beautiful experience of my career, largely because of you guys and the relationship we have here with you, and with you, in this room, and also in rooms across America and the rest of the world. So I do want to thank you.”

AMC had showed a trailer for Season 9 during the panel, which Lincoln referenced, saying he was “deeply proud” of the work the cast and crew had done on the new season.

“I suppose what I wanted to say was my relationship with Mr. Grimes is far from over, and a sort of large part of me that will always be a machete-wielding, Stetson-wearing, zombie-slaying sheriff’s deputy from London, England,” Lincoln said, drawing applause from the room.

“I’m really really really excited about this season,” he continued. “I think there are two episodes that for me are my favorite episodes since the pilot. So I also just want to commend all of these amazing actors and everybody, the rest of the cast — I think they’re doing the greatest work I’ve ever seen. This has always been an ensemble, and it will continue to be an ensemble, and no one is bigger than the story, and the story this year is unbelievable.”

Lincoln also said that, after so much time spent playing Rick Grimes, he’s said he really didn’t know what character he might want to play next. Lincoln said he is planning to take a break from acting, jokingly adding that he’ll be “going to bed for three months.”