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Courtesy of AMC

Report: Andrew Lincoln is leaving The Walking Dead after season 9

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May 29, 2018, 4:53 PM EDT

Can you imagine The Walking Dead without Rick Grimes? You may not have to, because it could actually happen. Soon.

According to The Wrap, Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln will leave the show before the end of the upcoming ninth season. When reached by SYFY WIRE, AMC declined to comment on the report.

After the departure of Chandler Riggs (Carl "CORALL" Grimes) last season, Lincoln's Rick is one of the last Season 1 characters still on the show. Melissa McBride (Carol) is still around, as is Norman Reedus (Daryl). Collider is reporting a rumor that when Lincoln departs, Reedus will step up and be the show's new leading man. Not bad for a character that doesn't even exist in the original source material. 

This news is coming soon after hearing that series regular Lauren Cohan is only contractually obligated to return for six episodes of Season 9. Though Cohan's Maggie was not in the original mix, she's been around since the lovely ol' farm days of Season 2 and has been a major character ever since (she's also a key player in the comics). Rick, Carl, and Maggie are all still alive in the comic book series that the show is based on. 

We'll have more on this story as it develops, but in the meantime, would you watch a Rick-less show? Is this totally gonna Rick things up? Can the show survive without him?

(Via: The Wrap, Collider)