The Walking Dead: Andrew Lincoln Reveals Why He's Exiting The Series

Saying goodbye to Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes onĀ The Walking Dead is an inevitability, as the actor plans to shimmy out of the series' ninth season just six episodes in. What's less clear is the reason for Lincoln's departure. Sure, the actor briefly noted at San Diego Comic-Con 2018 that it's simply "time for [him] to go home," but is that genuinely all that's going on?

Judging by what Lincoln recently toldĀ Entertainment Weekly, it is.Ā 

The actor sat down with the outlet to discuss his impendingĀ Walking Dead exit, revealing that spending six months of the year away from his wife and children while shooting the series in Georgia started to take a toll on him. Ahead of season 9, Lincoln reached his breaking point and realized that now was the time to part ways withĀ The Walking Dead.

"I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older. It was that simple," the England-based actor explained. "It was time for me to come home."

Shooting his final episodes, Lincoln stated, was "like releasing air finally." The last two in which he appears were "very satisfying" to film, suggesting that something groundbreaking happens during Rick's swan song.Ā 

But the episodes leading up to that arc will be rough to watch. "The world is deteriorating," Lincoln said of what goes down in season 9. "Rick Grimes has got a long game, and he knows that unless we trade, unless we look after each community, it's going to fall apart."Ā 

Knowing Rick's final episode is fast approaching, viewers are probably clutching their hearts likeĀ so much zombie guts. But they should keep something important in mind: Lincoln leavingĀ The Walking Dead doesn't mean he's leaving his character for good. The actor hinted at the possibility of appearing in other formats ofĀ Walking Dead-related media in stating he wanted to "clarify" that it's his "last season on the TV show" specifically.Ā 

Plenty of television shows have continued on after their main actor dipped out, but the quality of the subsequent seasons hasn't always been stellar. Following Steve Carell's exit fromĀ The Office,Ā the sitcom didn't carry the sameĀ je ne sais quoi it did when Michael Scott and his obliviousness were front and center. Something similar happened with Topher Grace's departure fromĀ That '70s Show. However, series likeĀ Grey's Anatomy flourished even after a big name went missing from their roster.Ā 

WhileĀ some actors have suffered the death of their career after leaving their hit TV shows, we have a feeling Lincoln will be quite alright post-The Walking Dead.Ā Hopefully the show can similarly thrive sans Rick Grimes.

The Walking DeadĀ will return to AMC for season 9 on October 7.Ā