‘The Walking Dead’ Star Jeffrey Dean Morgan Reassures Fans Worried About Rick Grimes’ Exit

The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan has a message for fans worried about the looming exit of Rick Grimes star Andrew Lincoln: don’t be.

“Same way you all feel probably,” the Negan star wrote on Twitter when asked by a fan how he feels about Rick’s last episode airing Sunday. “Without giving anything away... we all gonna be ok as fans of show. This season is GOOOOOD.”

Lincoln will step away from the series for the first time, ending his eight-year run as the series’ leading man. The actor and father of two chose to exit to spend more time with his young family, who live overseas.

“I think that it’s a good exit,” Morgan previously told Access of Lincoln’s final episode. “Look, it’s a hard deal, Rick leaving the world of The Walking Dead. So I think his exit... is an okay exit, all things considered. It’s befitting of Rick Grimes.”

When asked about losing Lincoln, Morgan admitted: “I hate it.”

“Andy told a couple of us, probably a year ago, that this was going to be it. And I really, in our off season last year, I kept thinking, ‘He’ll change his mind. He’ll miss it and want to be back and he’ll not leave us,’” he added. “That being said, one of the reasons I joined the show was so that I could work with Andy Lincoln. And really, he was — out of this whole cast — the guy that I worked with most. So I took it hard, I know the whole cast took it hard, we miss him. It’s his show, and we miss him, and that’s just the way it is.”

Losing Rick “has propelled our story in a way that it could never have gone before,” he continued. “I think the fans are going to be super excited to see the direction the show’s going this year. It’s a very good year.”

Fans can anticipate an “intense” confrontation between Negan and the widowed Maggie Rhee before star Lauren Cohan makes her own exit in 906, as well as an influx of new characters good and bad, including a newcomer group of allies led by comic book fan-favorite Magna (Nadia Hilkes) and anticipated villains the Whisperers, including Alpha (Samantha Morton), Beta (Ryan Hurst), and Lydia (Cassady McClincy).

“We’re talking about Andy a lot here and we should be, he deserves it, but I’m listening to Norman [Reedus] saying all these great things, Norman, Melissa [McBride], the tone is set. There’s a lot of people that have been here for a long time that are as great as Andy was,” Morgan said during an appearance at the Paley Center for Media with co-stars Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, and showrunner Angela Kang.

“And if it was someone else leaving, if it was Norman or Melissa, we’d be having the same conversation," he continued. "It’s not just Andy — he’s weirder than the rest of us [laughs] — but sitting next to me are some incredible leaders. The tone will never be lost. The intensity in what it takes to film this show is something I’ve never witnessed on anything, and it’s a special group of people that show up every day and shoot this show, and two of ‘em are right here.”

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Reedus and McBride are two of the veteran series stars who will be elevated to even bigger roles alongside Michonne star Danai Gurira once Lincoln and Cohan have made their exits over the next two episodes.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.