Yesterday, it was reported that Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) would be leaving AMC's The Walking Dead after Season 9. This obviously left fans wondering how the show could go on without its leading man, but The Hollywood Reporter writes that Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) might be stepping into the main spotlight in a deal that will nab him $20 million to keep the fan favorite around for the foreseeable future.
While Reedus is still in the process of negotiation, the prospect of turning Daryl into the central protagonist has massive repercussions for the entire dynamic of The Walking Dead. Where Rick is more of a level-headed and fair leader, Dixon is grittier and tougher, more willing to make the harder decisions in the name of humanity's survival.
That being said, Lincoln's character has taken a lot of punishment over the years, culminating in the death of his son, Carl (Chandler Riggs) this past season. Rick deserves to settle down with Michonne (Danai Gurira) and live a quiet life somewhere in the country, away from all the zombie meshugas, but who knows if that's how it might actually go down.
Looking to the comic connections, it'd also mean a seismic shift for the story fans know from Robert Kirkman's long-running (and still-running) monthly series. Rick, Maggie, and Carl are all still major players in the story being told in the comic pages — and it's anyone's guess how a Daryl-led story would move forward (not to mention the fact that Daryl doesn't even exist in the comics).
Lincoln is the second actor in the popular series to announce that their longstanding participation will be changing in a big way. Earlier this week, news broke that Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene) is only contractually obligated to appear in six episodes of Season 9's first half, which is to consist of eight episodes.