“The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman has confirmed that Season 9 will be leading man Andrew Lincoln’s last, which TheWrap reported in May.
In an interview taped ahead of San Diego Comic-Con with IMDb’s Kevin Smith and released Wednesday, Kirkman said that Lincoln’s departure “does make the differences between the comic and the show more pronounced.”
“But at the end of the day, it’s all about Andrew Lincoln. This is a human being. This is someone I have known for almost a decade, somebody that I love. He’s been sweating in Georgia, away from his family, for so long,” Kirkman continued, adding that Lincoln still “cares about the fans.”
“He cares about the show deeply, he wants to do something special on the way out, we’ve got something amazing planned,” Kirkman teased. “I wouldn’t want to spoil anything, but anybody who’s been a fan of his journey, who loves Rick Grimes, who loves the world of ‘The Walking Dead,’ you’re going to want to see what we do.”
Lincoln’s character Rick Grimes has been a lead on the show since the pilot, and, as Kirkman pointed out, still very much alive in the comic book version of the story. Rick’s son Carl, played by Chandler Riggs, was killed off in the show last season, but is also still alive in the comics. Collider was the first to report Lincoln’s exit, and reported that he will appear in six episodes of the upcoming season.
Watch Kirkman in the video above.