Andrew Lincoln Is Sure That ‘The Walking Dead’ Could Continue On Without Rick Grimes

The Walking Dead is heading into its eighth season and its landmark 100th episode, still rolling strong and possibly pushing its cast to incredible lengths in order to tell the story of the world that follows the zombie apocalypse. While there’s a possible time jump coming this season, Andrew Lincoln things that only the start of the changes the series could bring about in its future and the next 100 episodes.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lincoln details how he could see the show continuing on without Rick Grimes at some point. The magazine calls Lincoln the most “mentally, physically, and emotionally committed” actor you’d meet in his Walking Dead role, but that doesn’t mean the show hinges on him being around until the very end. Putting a period on the end of a performance is something Lincoln talks about during the chat:

“I think that there’s an innate feeling and certainly in me that I love doing a play or doing the film because you get to put a period on the end of it and you get to do it nightly, which is really exciting. TV is different. The format is different because it is about sort of a continuum. But, you know, there is a sense to me that really needs some… it sounds like I’m in a shrink’s head, but there is a completion thing that I think I deserve for doing it for so long. And also probably the audience would like some completion…
“There’s only so many ways you can bend and stretch this and that. 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.”
For Lincoln, he doesn’t see Rick as the main narrative force in the series and the door is already open for his exit if the chooses to walk through it. That focus is Rick’s son, of course, growing up in this new world and experiencing all the beauty and horror it has to offer:

“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?”

Chandler Riggs stepping into that Rick role in the show would be a tough pill to swallow for some fans, but Carl has certainly grown a bit since those early seasons. Also he’s supported by a great ensemble of characters that also seem to come and go, giving him a safety net of sorts for any sort of transition that could happen. That said, it probably shouldn’t be expected any time soon. Lincoln is the guy for now, with Scott Gilmple even jokingly talking about “year 20 or year 30” of the show being the point where the show moves on without him. But the belief from those on the show and creator Robert Kirkman is that Rick Grimes isn’t what drives The Walking Dead, even if he’s not walking into the sunset any time soon:

“Andy is the leader of this show and his dedication to the show is absolutely inspiring,” he says. “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.”
While this certainly feels like the latest worm on the hook to pull people in and make them ask, “will they do it?,” an actor wanting to go off and do other things isn’t a new or outrageous concept. Lincoln would have the luxury of choice coming from a massive success like The Walking Dead, so this type of conversation is good to put out in the open. Even if you’re not going to run off and do Shakespeare for the rest of your life, you want folks to know you could and things would be fine.

We just hope they use his heroic ending if they do send him off. Make it count.