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‘The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus Teases “Epic” Post-Rick Grimes Era

Daryl Dixon star Norman Reedus says the back half of The Walking Dead Season Nine is “f—ing epic” despite the loss of longtime Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln.

“Let me say this, Andy’s been on set since he’s left but he’s like, you know, this show, it’s the best it’s ever been. He’s like I’m kind of bummed, it’s f— amazing right now, you know? And the truth is, it is. It got better. The band got tighter,” Reedus told Deadline.

“Some bands are heavy on lead guitar and it’s just guitar solos forever and you know, the rest of the band isn’t getting the chance to play. Now, we got new singers. We got new guitarists and I really feel that the show’s the best it’s ever been.”

Lincoln has since returned to set as he eyes making his first directorial effort on the series in Season Ten. Sunday’s episode, “What Comes After,” will be Lincoln’s last in the role of Rick Grimes.

Following the exit of Rick in 905, The Walking Dead will see an influx of new characters, both good and bad: first with a pack of new survivors ported over from creator Robert Kirkman’s comics, including Magna (Nadia Hilkes) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), and long-awaited fan-favorite villains the Whisperers, headed by Alpha (Samantha Morton) and Beta (Ryan Hurst).

“We’re making the show that we want to make right now and you can feel it on set, you can feel it all over the place,” Reedus said.

“I really feel the scripts and the stories and the episodes are even better in the back eight, I really do. They’re f—ing epic, you know, and they’re just crushing and they’re severe, all of them. The show’s morphing into something else but it’s got the heart and the feel of the original show, there’s just new life breathing through it.”

And on the series losing viewers after Lincoln leaves, Reedus said, “I think they’ll tune in to see what happens to Andy and then they’re going to tune in to see what it’s like without him.”

Despite the show no longer being the behemoth it was in its prime, The Walking Dead still dominates cable. Reedus isn’t concerned about numbers, and plans to stick with the series until the very end.

“Look, everyone’s worried about numbers and they’re like oh, the numbers have dropped. Well, they only drop when we compare it to ourselves, you know what I’m saying? The way people watch TV is different since we started, for everyone,” he explained.

“I mean, sports are down across the board too. It’s just the nature of the beast, that’s how I see it. It’s a crazy weight to carry around on your shoulders when you have that big of an audience and everyone’s asking is it bigger, is it bigger?”

It’s a beast that “has just changed, permanently for everyone now,” Reedus added.

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“Personally, I would love it if we never even talked about numbers. I just want to make a show we want to make, because what it feels like on set is great right now. I just want to make the honest show that we started making from the beginning, that’s what it feels like we’re making now.”

The Walking Dead premieres new episodes Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.