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Rick Grimes served as the tenacious team leader on The Walking Dead for over a decade before his mysterious departure in the first half of season nine. Although the former sheriff’s deputy is set to return in a trilogy of films, one of Andrew Lincoln’s co-stars on the AMC series has opened up about his decision to bring his television duties to an end.
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Fans are still unsure what exactly happened to Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) when he was taken away in season nine.
In episode five, What Comes After Rick is flown off in a helicopter by the Civil Republic of the Midwest (CRM) after landing on a piece of rebar.
It’s assumed he survived his ordeal, as Rick is confirmed to return in an upcoming trilogy of theatrical TWD films, written by former showrunner Scott M. Gimple.
Meanwhile, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) has taken the helm in season ten, leaving viewers waiting to see how Rick will escape his new predicament.
On a recent episode of the Talk Dead to Me podcast, Lincoln’s co-star Pollyanna McIntosh spoke up about the British star’s decision to leave the series.
During the discussion McIntosh, who has portrayed the leader of the Scavengers, Anne, since season seven, confirmed he had planned to exit TWD to spend more time with his family.
She explained: “Him and [his wife Gael] wanted to keep the kids in school in the UK, and they’ve achieved that.
“But there’s a certain amount of years after which it’s like, for Andy, he said they’re at the age where they need their dad around. This is the time.”
Lincoln and his wife Gael Anderson have two children who reside in the UK, though filming for TWD takes place in Atlanta, Georgia.
The star’s commitment to the long-running zombie series has kept his schedule packed since he joined as series lead in 2010.
Although he has appeared in Love, Actually and Made in Dagenham, Lincoln is primarily known for his role as Rick Grimes.
In 2019, he filmed his first post-TWD performance for the upcoming drama film, Penguin Bloom.
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Pollyanna McIntosh revealed most of the cast and crew believed Lincoln would be leaving The Walking Dead at some point in season eight.
She continued: “I know he’d been planning it for a while, because he might have gone in season eight.
“There were whispers, to me, that it might be happening then. I say ‘whispers’ because, of course, no one was supposed to tell me.”
However, although there were rumours suggesting Rick Grimes would be written off in season eight, McIntosh revealed why his departure didn’t come to fruition until the next season.
She confirmed: “So he’d been planning it, but he really wanted to get it at the right time. He wanted leaving the story to be good for the show, for the character.
“He’s got so much respect and love for what The Walking Dead is, and the fans, and so he wanted to get it right, so it didn’t happen then. And then the next season, there I was taking him away in the helicopter.”
Thankfully, Andrew Lincoln holds TWD and its devoted fans in high regard, meaning Rick stuck around for a few more episodes and given the send-off the iconic character deserved.
The Walking Dead season 10 is hoped to conclude in 2020 on AMC.
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