The Walking Dead Cast, Fans Give Star Andrew Lincoln an Emotional Farewell at Comic-Con

San Diego Comic-Con 2018 is likely to be the actor's last as Rick Grimes. Plus, Samantha Morton joins the cast.

by | July 20, 2018 | Comments

The Walking Dead cast, producers, and fans gave star Andrew Lincoln an emotional San Diego Comic-Con send-off on Friday. The series’ creative team also announced that actress Samantha Morton (Minority Report and Hulu’s Harlots) will appear as the series’ newest villain, Alpha.

Season 9 of the series doesn’t kick off until October, but Lincoln is already preparing himself for the end.

This will be the British actor’s last go-round as the show’s hero. The news leaked back in May, but creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman confirmed the goodbye this week. This allowed Lincoln, who has been on the AMC zombie drama from the start, to speak freely about his exit Friday at two separate San Diego Comic-Con panels.

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 20: (L-R) Greg Nicotero, Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, and Norman Reedus attend 'The Walking Dead' panel with AMC during during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

“I want to say something because there seems to be an elephant in the room,” a noticeably choked up Lincoln told an estimated 6,000 attendees at the start of the fan panel in Hall H shortly after receiving a standing ovation. “This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes.”

A number of fans booed Lincoln’s announcement, but the actor pressed on to explain his side of things during the panel, which also included stars Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Lauren Cohan.

“Now hear me out, please. I love this show,” he said. “It means everything to me. I love the people that make this show. I promise not to cry. I’ve done enough crying onscreen. These guys and everybody back in Atlanta are the greatest surrogate family I could have ever wished for, but I do have a family and it’s time to go home.”

Lincoln, whose past credits include the 2003 Christmas rom-com Love Actually, said he didn’t want to spoil how his character will leave the show but added that, “This is a really terrific story for Rick and Michonne.”

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 20: (L-R) Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Lauren Cohan, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan attend 'The Walking Dead' panel with AMC during during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for AMC)

(Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for AMC)

Later, when Lincoln chatted with reporters about his final season at a press conference, he said he wanted to talk to fans first and then the media about his decision because die-hard supporters of the series and the comics have been so inspiring.

“I’ve been coming to Comic-Con in San Diego for nine years and fans have been so beautiful, and it’s such a part of this experience. And that relationship is hard to leave behind,” he said. “But I have a relationship with my family, and I can’t keep going back and forth between England and Atlanta. This is something I’ve struggled with since the show began and here we are. My kids are older now and they need me.”

At the start of the fan panel, AMC showed off an action-packed trailer full of teasers, including a time jump in season 9 and Maggie (Cohan) has finally had her baby. The trailer also made it seem as though Daryl (Reedus) could take over command from Rick.

Daryl isn’t the only candidate. Angela Kang, who used to be a writer and producer for The Walking Dead, is now the new showrunner and said women characters such as Michonne (Gurira), Maggie, and Carol (Melissa McBride) will take more of the lead this season.

Speaking of powerful women, Kirkman confirmed that Morton will join the cast this season as Alpha, who leads a villainous group called the Whisperers. Executive producer Scott Gimple said the show hasn’t cast Alpha’s underling, Beta, yet.

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 20: Danai Gurira and Andrew Lincoln attend 'The Walking Dead' panel with AMC during during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for AMC)

(Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for AMC)

But Gurira and Reedus said no one can fill Lincoln’s shoes.

“I truly believe this is the best leading man on television,” Gurira told reporters of Lincoln, who plays her on-screen love interest. “Andy has set the tone since the pilot. His discipline, character, and kindness has taught us how to carry on without him. He has so equipped us — I couldn’t be thankful enough to learn from him. It’s been a true joy.”

Reedus also praised Lincoln, adding: “It’s always been an ensemble. This is a very female-driven season with a lot less bravado and a lot more depth. Like Danai said, Andy set the template. You can’t take Rick’s place.”

The Walking Dead season 9 premieres Sunday, October 7 on AMC. 

Tag Cloud

documentary Trivia Classic Film tv talk anthology rt archives witnail Podcast Amazon Reality Competition spider-man Hallmark Christmas movies Holiday Masterpiece E3 Schedule toy story YouTube Premium Arrowverse Summer San Diego Comic-Con asian-american Film Festival Rocketman hispanic cults HBO Go mutant game of thrones Star Wars Amazon Prime quibi black Crunchyroll TCA Winter 2020 TV One renewed TV shows based on movie Western Box Office 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards ghosts cops Anna Paquin slashers Sony Pictures Spike what to watch New York Comic Con TBS Epix Best and Worst Marvel Studios LGBTQ Action Holidays Trailer FXX Bravo GoT Lionsgate free movies festival TNT Crackle all-time 45 obituary video on demand singing competition serial killer Comedy Central Elton John Reality FOX pirates of the caribbean National Geographic VICE medical drama Apple Superheroe Hulu Country The Purge YA Oscars screenings Disney streaming service hidden camera psychological thriller franchise ABC Disney Channel Legendary Set visit book adaptation zombies Freeform blockbusters Marvel Television Turner Classic Movies kaiju revenge satire The CW NBC TV renewals 2019 Pirates universal monsters dogs Mystery independent comics mockumentary Lifetime Christmas movies 20th Century Fox USA period drama First Reviews Shudder Exclusive Video BET halloween Fox News Marvel laika versus Avengers Baby Yoda Tomatazos Drama Toys NYCC critics Fall TV 24 frames Music ESPN Discovery Channel aliens rotten movies we love chucky Women's History Month Sundance Now spain die hard ViacomCBS 99% Kids & Family Thanksgiving CNN james bond 2017 WGN SDCC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt french DirecTV Teen mission: impossible child's play HBO Max President Sundance TV 2018 Black History Month Endgame Dark Horse Comics CBS All Access Pride Month a nightmare on elm street king kong CBS comiccon Turner Broadway toronto twilight IFC Films Opinion See It Skip It Musicals 2016 Valentine's Day cancelled TV shows Comedy Comics on TV Extras Disney Plus Awards cinemax Mindy Kaling Mary poppins cancelled crime drama miniseries telelvision transformers Black Mirror robots space heist movie werewolf Lifetime spanish language crime thriller Super Bowl Food Network women Polls and Games BET Awards zero dark thirty Star Trek TCA movie biography war thriller USA Network Creative Arts Emmys SXSW dceu PBS christmas movies LGBT TruTV boxing spanish Stephen King BBC America anime richard e. Grant Pop Mudbound Writers Guild of America theme song stoner Winter TV binge Logo BBC One Sneak Peek Horror disaster golden globes DC Comics festivals TV Land romantic comedy FX game show DC streaming service supernatural YouTube Funimation children's TV Quiz jamie lee curtis Academy Awards natural history Universal teaser Biopics Trophy Talk Vudu stand-up comedy IFC Grammys dark spinoff emmy awards Emmys new star wars movies book Showtime concert Rock Apple TV Plus ABC Family ABC Signature El Rey TV Watching Series television cats Fox Searchlight zombie fresh prank Nickelodeon Spring TV australia superman series 93rd Oscars comedies unscripted Song of Ice and Fire talk show Video Games MSNBC criterion dramedy ID TCA Awards directors Fantasy YouTube Red nature Shondaland Rom-Com 2021 monster movies 71st Emmy Awards blaxploitation composers cancelled television 2020 adventure finale cancelled TV series Spectrum Originals Walt Disney Pictures rom-coms Lucasfilm Chernobyl American Society of Cinematographers TIFF hollywood Amazon Prime Video 007 facebook news Musical psycho CW Seed social media Animation MTV sitcom MCU First Look The Academy indie scary movies Disney movies Warner Bros. hist Tumblr casting APB docuseries Television Critics Association Amazon Studios Family travel blockbuster Marathons Esquire archives Infographic parents TLC Brie Larson vampires sports GIFs Ghostbusters worst deadpool best scorecard ratings cooking popular RT History kids The Walt Disney Company Cartoon Network spy thriller A24 politics Paramount ITV diversity Apple TV+ Heroines PlayStation SundanceTV Cannes halloween tv OneApp joker Peacock X-Men sag awards Paramount Plus football Sundance screen actors guild technology crossover films green book Election BAFTA true crime science fiction 2015 cartoon Alien TCA 2017 PaleyFest award winner DGA sequel name the review discovery doctor who Nominations Mary Tyler Moore Rocky nfl trailers godzilla Acorn TV cars venice foreign Netflix batman Interview latino strong female leads harry potter The Arrangement canceled canceled TV shows historical drama rotten Columbia Pictures E! VOD Mary Poppins Returns italian Character Guide streaming Pet Sematary south america AMC Starz documentaries Pixar kong The Witch police drama A&E Christmas docudrama elevated horror 4/20 DC Universe political drama Cosplay Nat Geo TCM adaptation Sci-Fi Ellie Kemper Comic Book Year in Review Awards Tour Hallmark Pop TV worst movies HBO Binge Guide GLAAD dragons golden globe awards Travel Channel Television Academy Chilling Adventures of Sabrina The Walking Dead Winners nbcuniversal comic remakes Ovation 72 Emmy Awards CMT animated razzies Red Carpet jurassic park comic books sequels Netflix Christmas movies History Photos classics fast and furious romance video Hear Us Out Tubi crime japanese superhero reboot Britbox Film indiana jones Countdown Emmy Nominations OWN Syfy breaking bad FX on Hulu stop motion Captain marvel 21st Century Fox VH1 Martial Arts BBC reviews Premiere Dates Superheroes Certified Fresh Calendar WarnerMedia Tarantino justice league Paramount Network dc Disney+ Disney Plus RT21 boxoffice Adult Swim