The Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln says the show could go on without Rick Grimes

“It’s beautifully set up for that.”

Characters come and go on The Walking Dead. It’s part of the show’s DNA. But there may be a time when even Rick Grimes gets killed off.

As Andrew Lincoln’s Rick is the lead hero, you may be forgiven for thinking the character is invincible on the show. He is anything but, though – particularly if the writers want to keep the storytelling fresh.

“There’s only so many ways you can bend and stretch this and that,” Lincoln told Entertainment Weekly.

“I’m not saying that the show would ever finish, but I certainly think that there’s an opportunity for the show to change at some point, and I think it should.”

So could Carl (Chandler Riggs) take over as the lead character?

“Absolutely,” Lincoln said. “Absolutely.

“It’s beautifully set up for that – for the camera to be certainly his story, and then it just shifts off. If ever there was a landscape or an environment to do that, it’s our show. But whether or not that’s this season… well, you have to find out, don’t you?”

Show co-creator Robert Kirkman was in agreement.

“Andy is the leader of this show and his dedication to the show is absolutely inspiring,” he commented. “Everyone just looks up to him and he’s a huge part of this show.

“But we have a very strong ensemble, and there’s a lot of characters that could carry the show. The Walking Dead is a story very much about a world and a bunch of people inhabiting that world.”

The Walking Dead launches its eighth season on October 22 on AMC in the US and October 23 on FOX in the UK.