Andrew Lincoln No Longer Returning to The Walking Dead to Direct Season 10 Episode

Both the fans and the universe of The Walking Dead sorely miss the presence of leading man Andrew Lincoln, who starred in the series as Rick Grimes for more than eight seasons. At the beginning of Season 9 last year, Lincoln's Rick Grimes was whisked away in a helicopter by the mysterious Jadis, never to be seen again by his friends and family. While Rick's return to the main Walking Dead series doesn't seem at all likely, Lincoln was planning to come back to the set this year to direct one of the upcoming Season 10 episodes. However, it looks as though the plans fell through.

EW confirmed on Friday ahead of The Walking Dead's panel at San Diego Comic-Con that Lincoln's schedule wasn't able to line up with AMC's, and that his directorial debut will have to wait just a little longer.

Lincoln returned to the set during Season 9 to shadow director Michael E. Satrazemis during production on the 12th episode, "Guardians." The plan was for Lincoln to learn more about directing during that experience and to come back on his own a season later. Sadly the timing just couldn't work out.

"I'm going back. I'm going back to shadow a director, and my intention is to direct next year," Lincoln told EW ahead of his shadowing experience last summer. "I can't be that far away because I can't bear it. That's how much I am invested in the show and the continuation of the story."

All that to say, there is still a beloved former Walking Dead star taking on directorial duties in Season 10, it just isn't Andrew Lincoln. Michael Cudlitz, who played Abraham Ford on the show for several seasons, has already come back to direct an episode this season. Cudlitz previously directed the "Stradivarius" episode in Season 9.

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Lincoln isn't directing any episodes of The Walking Dead this season, but he is planning to reprise the role of Rick Grimes in a trilogy of feature films that will continue his story.

The Walking Dead returns for its 10th season on Sunday, October 6th.