Home Entertainment Andrew Lincoln, Lauren Cohan to leave The Walking Dead, Norman Reedus becomes series lead

Andrew Lincoln, Lauren Cohan to leave The Walking Dead, Norman Reedus becomes series lead

4 min read



Once the biggest TV series in the world, The Walking Dead has seen its fortunes fall over the last years. While the viewership numbers of AMC’s comic book zombie drama adaptation have still been the stuff of TV executive fancy across its eight seasons, they’re nowhere close to the show’s heyday and they keep dropping. Some of the biggest drops came when the show took controversial or unexpected turns, like the painfully protracted farmhouse arc or Glenn’s brutal demise at the hands of Negan. And now it looks like The Walking Dead may see its most surprising development yet thanks to a huge cast shake-up.

Rumours broke at the tail end of last week that star Andrew Lincoln and co-star Lauren Cohan would be leaving the show during the upcoming ninth season – rumours which have now been confirmed by fellow actor Norman Reedus. For Cohan, this was actually expected as the actress had been engaged in messy contract renegotiations after it was revealed that she was being paid less than her male co-stars. For a while it looked like Cohen would not return at all – a problematic development as she plays a key role as Glenn’s widow Maggie Rhee and the current ruler of the Hilltop community – before it was confirmed she would be back for a limited number of episodes.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by norman reedus (@bigbaldhead) on

Lincoln’s departure is a bit more surprising though. As embattled ex-sheriff Rick Grimes, Lincoln has been the lead of the show since its start. While the character has gone through several tragedies in recent times, including the death of his son Carl, which has left him a bit of a morally misguided emotional wreck, the events of the season eight finale – Rick finally wins his war against Negan, but doesn’t give into his dark side and spares his life – has seemingly set him back on his heroic path. However, according to a report from Us Weekly, Lincoln has become disillusioned with playing a single character for the last eight years and he wants to focus back on movies again. Exactly how Lincoln’s Rick will depart the show is not known (some reports claim he will walk away rather than be killed off), but both he and Cohan will only be around for six episodes in the upcoming ninth season

With both of the show’s biggest stars out of the picture, it will now fall to Reedus’ Daryl Dixon to take the lead, with reports claiming that the actor is getting a potential $20 million paycheck to stay on in the wake of Lincoln and Cohan’s exits. Daryl has been a firm fan-favourite since his introduction in season 1, but he’s taken a bit of a backseat in the narrative in recent times, merely off doing the occasional solo mission at Rick’s behest. That is clearly going to have to change now. Daryl does have the advantage of being an original creation for the TV series adaptation and not a character in Robert Kirkman’s original comic books, and thus his story could go in any direction. Of course, in the comics, Rick is still very much alive, one of many changes from the source, so things are already heading in unexpected directions.


Reedus confirmed Lincoln’s departure through a heartfelt Instagram post which had many fans all emotional. Unfortunately, there were many other fans who are feeling different a type of emotion, as many have taken to social media to declare that they would be done with the show once Lincoln leaves. Season 8 had the lowest ratings in The Walking Dead’s history with the bottom coming after the mid-season finale when Chandler Riggs’ Carl was killed off. Couple that with another fan-favourite in Lenny James’ Morgan leaving to join the cast of spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, and it leaves the show with very few of its original cast members (Melissa McBride, who plays Carol, will now be the show’s longest-running cast member).

Are you still watching The Walking Dead or were you one of those who dropped out a while back? If the former, what do you think of the departure of Rick and Maggie?

Last Updated: June 4, 2018


  1. I blame this series for souring everyone to the zombie genre. Started off so well, then just got terrible and bloated.


    • HvR

      June 4, 2018 at 09:21

      Jip, it may work for comics. But feel it ran its course up to season 4/5.

      Fear the walking dead was even worse as soon as they left the city is basically became The Walking Dead: liberal emo addition


      • Original Heretic

        June 4, 2018 at 09:24

        Fear the Walking Dead skipped over the one thing they were SUPPOSED to cover:
        How did it all start?
        Which would probably also have been terrible, because that’s part of the awesome zombie mystery. We’re not MEANT to know how it started or how it works. It just is.


        • ferretgal

          June 4, 2018 at 12:15

          They were never going to tell us the “why” behind it all; just to SHOW us the beginning, which Fear did. Kirkman has always said he’ll never reveal the why; he even regrets the CDC episode (original TWD) as giving away too much.


        • ferretgal

          June 4, 2018 at 12:15

          They were never going to tell us the “why” behind it all; just to SHOW us the beginning, which Fear did. Kirkman has always said he’ll never reveal the why; he even regrets the CDC episode (original TWD) as giving away too much.


          • Original Heretic

            June 4, 2018 at 15:13

            But even that beginning was glossed over.
            At the start, a few episodes when things were starting to happen, then suddenly, full blown zombie apoc.

  2. Craig "CrAiGiSh" Dodd

    June 4, 2018 at 09:33

    Show started off well, got really boring REALLY fast, got interesting again when Negan was introduced but will get boring now again …


  3. For the Emperor!

    June 4, 2018 at 09:36

    I think I got somewhere in season 3 where a helicopter crashed…just after they were at the prison? Not sure…it started feeling stale back then already 🙁


  4. ferretgal

    June 4, 2018 at 12:19

    I feel that the show has taken a lot of bad turns in the last couple of seasons, plus the constant jerking around of the viewers to “keep it fresh” is getting downright irritating. We’ve been hanging on, mostly due to Fear; but as I don’t care much for Reedus, probably won’t be watching TWD much longer.


  5. RinceThis

    June 4, 2018 at 13:16

    Gave up after that farmhouse part.


  6. Brandon Brown

    June 4, 2018 at 14:29

    i LOVE TWD ill watch it as long as it lasts i am surely gonna miss rick though great actor so hopefully this show goes on and on! looking forward to October BOIZZZ


  7. Kaname Kuran

    June 6, 2018 at 17:28

    it can’t go on without rick and maggie theyve screwed chandler the show deserves to burn. kirkman needs to get a different showrunner and same cast that should still be there, so they can go back to source material the way animes rerun more true to source material.


  8. Le Vanelle Cramblett

    July 21, 2018 at 19:13

    I am a true walking dead fan! I have fallen victim to the addiction of watching twd family fighting to stay alive and battle to stay together. I have a little bit of mixed feelings about maggie and rick leaving. Even though Daryl has always been my favorite character I feel that Rick and maggie was the glue for the whole family to stay together. There has been many losses but I feel that this will be the one to impact the most. No matter what I have always been and will always be one of the biggest fans of this show. I have been watching since episode 1 and I haven’t been able to stop watching it. I love it No matter what!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Comic-Con: New trailer for The Walking Dead: World Beyond shows a new beginning for zombie franchise

The dead are returning... again. After being pulled just days before its debut due to the …