Walking Dead fans are still dealing with the shock that Lincoln won't be sticking around for future tales in the zombie apocalypse, but a bit more information about his exit has come to light. Sources say Lincoln will be phased out during season nine a lot like his co-star Cohan, who will also be exiting the show in Season Nine. Cohan will only be filming six episodes, but it isn't known how many Lincoln will film.
Since the episodes will already be in the can the creative team could stagger the Rick-centric ones out a bit if they so choose, but fans will know when his exit is coming, as AMC is expected to officially announce his final episodes before they occur. While we don't know exactly when he will exit, he is expected to depart before the Season nine finale.
Lincoln seems to be leaving the show to spend more time with his family in the U.K., as the show films in Atlanta Georgia. As for Lauren Cohan, she is leaving the show after negotiations with AMC to return to the show fell through. Her arc will conclude as part of her six-episode run in season nine, but she's already secure a new role in ABC's Whiskey Cavalier, which will enter the network mid-season.
This will have a huge impact on the show going forward, as the first eight seasons of Walking Dead are at their heart a story of one man's journey to keep his family safe and keep hope alive. Some of that changed with Carl's death last season, and with so much change in the air for the show now would be the time to go in a new direction.
Fan-favorite Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) will allegedly be stepping into the lead role for the show going forward, and will reportedly be getting a huge raise to do so. It's a bit fitting too, as Season Nine will also feature a brand-new person in the showrunner's chair. Angela Kang will be in charge of the show going forward, and going into Season Ten she'll have plenty of fresh material to work with it seems.
The Walking Dead will return for Season Nine later this fall.