AMC is now officially advertising The Walking Dead Season Nine as “Rick Grimes’ final episodes.”
The re-released trailer, newly presented by Amazon Fire TV and originally premiered at San Diego Comic-Con in July, now features an all-new inscription teasing “Rick Grimes’ final episodes.”
The network previously took a similar approach when sending off longtime star Chandler Riggs and Carl Grimes, who was killed off midway through Season Eight. Carl was marked for death heading into the winter break, when he revealed an incurable walker bite in the mid-season finale.
After word of Lincoln’s looming exit broke in May, the Rick Grimes star broke his silence at Comic-Con, publicly acknowledging and confirming the upcoming ninth season would be his last as the sheriff’s deputy-turned-machete-wielding zombie slayer.
“This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes,” Lincoln said during The Walking Dead’s Hall H panel.
“I love this show. It means everything to me. I love the people who make this show... I’m particularly fond of the people who watch the show. You people. This has been the most extraordinary, amazing, and beautiful experience of my career.”
He admitted later at a press conference stepping away “was something that I started to think about as my children got older and less portable.”
Lincoln told EW he experienced a sense of relief after announcing his exit, but regretted the story breaking “because I believe in story... it’s gonna be a great season but it would have been greater if it was not spoiled to a degree.”
Since July, following Lincoln’s first public confirmation, AMC has openly acknowledged Rick Grimes’ time with the series is drawing to a close. Most recently, newly unveiled Season Nine key art highlights a front-and-center Rick Grimes — sporting the sheriff’s hat handed down to Carl after Rick outgrew his “Officer Friendly” moniker.
Rick and Lincoln are expected to be gone before the midway point in the front half of Season Nine. How Rick leaves remains to be seen.
However he makes his exit, Lincoln’s co-star Danai Gurira, who plays katana-wielding warrior and lover Michonne, told EW the loss is something “our characters are dealing with as we deal with it,” saying the remaining cast members are “in very clear emotional synchronicity with our characters right now, because the loss is felt by them and by us.”
Though most characters meet decidedly final ends in the world of Walking Dead, Lincoln hinted Rick could survive the season, saying at Comic-Con, “I think [Morgan actor] Lennie James is a good example of leaving without dying. There’s also the other way, but I won’t tell you which one.”
Rick’s exit could be tied to the ever mysterious and recurring helicopter, conspicuously placed near Rick in all promotional materials thus far.
Rick Grimes’ final episodes begin when The Walking Dead Season Nine debuts Sunday, October 7 on AMC.