Andrew Lincoln walking away from 'The Walking Dead'

Rick sick

Following the surprise report on Tuesday that Lincoln, who stars as Rick Grimes, will leave during the upcoming ninth season, more details have begun to emerge about about how that exit might play out. It's going to be a very different show with characters handling very different issues, challenges and threats than we've seen before.

Lauren Cohan, too, will remain firmly aboard The Walking Dead's cast, even though she's publicly been bargaining for a better contract on social media.

Reps for Lincoln did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment, while AMC declined to comment.

Reedus is a hugely popular actor on TWD, and keeping him in the midst of losing the series' main star, Andrew Lincoln, is important for the show's continuity.

The audience for the season eight mid-season premiere in April was its lowest ever, while the finale was the series' lowest since season two. The Walking Dead traditionally opens each season in October, with eight episodes in the fall and eight in the spring.

Collider, which first reported the news, suggests that Lincoln's final run will last only six episodes.

How will Rick Grimes meet his end on The Walking Dead? Riggs' Carl, Rick's son, was killed in the middle of Season 8, while James' Morgan crossed over to spin-off Fear the Walking Dead. The actress has also signed on to new work, taking up a role in ABC network's spy series Whiskey Cavalier.

Season nine looks like it could be a big one for The Walking Dead with series regulars Rick and Maggie both leaving.

"If I was watching it I would want some answers, something, and if that means the demise of a central character or a principal character, then I'm willing to take the medicine". Melissa McBride (Carol) is still around, as is Norman Reedus (Daryl). "The differences that people will be seeing in season nine and beyond are going to be pronounced". Can the show survive without him?

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