Andrew Lincoln explains his exit from The Walking Dead

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Shooting his final episodes, Lincoln stated, was "like releasing air finally". Usually when an actor is preparing to leave The Walking Dead, it's because they're going to die. The last two in which he appears were "very satisfying" to film, suggesting that something groundbreaking happens during Rick's swan song.

Returning Sunday, October 7, on AMC, The Walking Dead stars Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, Lennie James as Morgan Jones, Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler, Josh McDermitt as Eugene Porter, Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan. The actor hinted at the possibility of appearing in other formats of Walking Dead-related media in stating he wanted to "clarify" that it's his "last season on the TV show" specifically. When people get hungry, things can get really nasty, really fast.

"I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older", Andrew told EW. "It was that simple. It was time for me to come home". Spoiler alert: the future does not look bright.

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However, he hints that Rick has a plan up his sleeve. "The goal this season was just to pay homage to that character - the character that brought us into the show", says Kang.

While the direction of the AMC series has diverted in several big ways from Robert Kirkman's comic book series, the departure of Rick Grimes will be by far the biggest. "It's a fragile peace". That means The Walking Dead needs to work on filling the gap left by their leading man.