The Walking Dead': Norman Reedus Reportedly Getting Huge Paycheck to Take Over for Andrew Lincoln

The next season of The Walking Dead will be embracing a Brave New World in Season Nine, as Andrew Lincoln is going to be leaving the series for good.

While Rick Grimes' journey through the zombie apocalypse will be at its end, the AMC series will continue with Daryl Dixon stepping into the spotlight. Us Weekly just reported that actor Norman Reedus is getting a pay raise to become the lead of the series, getting $20 million to stay on the series.

Reedus is one of the original cast members of the series and one of the few popular characters without a counterpart in the source material of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's comic books. Daryl Dixon has become a fan favorite on the show, and is likely to be one of the only fixtures remaining from the first few seasons of the series.

This could prove to be a blessing for new showrunner Angela Kang, who is taking over duties from Scott Gimple for Season Nine.

In addition to Lincoln's impending departure from The Walking Dead, there's still uncertainty over whether or not Lauren Cohan will continue to play a role in the series. After contract negotiations for increased pay hit a snag, the actor behind Maggie Rhee started fielding offers for different TV pilots and secured a co-lead role in Whiskey Cavalier.

ABC just picked up that pilot for a full season order, but Cohan also negotiated a deal to return to The Walking Dead's first half of Season Nine — but, like Lincoln, she'll only appear in six episodes.

With two long-running actors potentially leaving the series for good, The Walking Dead is put into a position to go in all-new directions that the comic book has yet to explore. Both Maggie and Rick play crucial roles in the source material to this day, and many of those current storylines have yet to be teased on the show.

Kang has an opportunity to chart unmarked territory with two major departures, focusing on a character who has not even appeared in the comics. Whether or not fans are along for the ride remains to be seen, as some were already angry about the death of Carl Grimes and actor Chandler Riggs' exit.

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After Lincoln's departure, Reedus and co-star Melissa McBride, who plays Carol, will be the longest tenured actors on the series.

The Walking Dead will return to AMC for Season Nine this fall. Fear the Walking Deadairs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavis on Twitter.