The Walking Dead Star Hopes Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes Returns to the Show

Following the Season 9 departure of Rick Grimes star Andrew Lincoln, his former co-star Callan McAuliffe hopes Lincoln one day finds his way back to The Walking Dead. McAuliffe joined in Season 8 as then-Savior Alden, who became loyal to Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and the Hilltop even before the defeat of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) at Rick's hand. Lincoln next reprises his role in a trilogy of still-untitled Walking Dead movies alongside returning Jadis-slash-Anne star Pollyanna McIntosh under TWD chief content officer Scott Gimple, who is now developing the movie projects alongside franchise creator Robert Kirkman.

“Just for the plain and simple fact that I love Andrew Lincoln personally, I would really like to work with him more,” McAuliffe told 9Honey Celebrity. “We had some lovely scenes together, and he made it super easy to come on the show in the first place. It’s a big, intimidating program, and so to have the lead of the show make things so comfortable and be so welcoming… It’s tremendous.”

McAuliffe’s comments come after showrunner Angela Kang said the “door is always open” for Lincoln to revisit the mothership series, now midway through its tenth season.

“Not this season, but man, I would love it if he did,” Kang told Deadline when asked if Lincoln might come back for more small screen Walking Dead. “You know we were talking about having him direct something for a while, but then he wanted to focus on some acting stuff, and he didn’t want to drop out on us at the last minute if something came along, and you know he’s been doing a movie lately.”

“The door is always open,” Kang added. “Andy, you can come back any time.”

But Lincoln — who only exited the show to spend more time with his family, who live overseas — earlier said he expects the movie trilogy to complete Rick's story.

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“[The exit] coincided with my personal reasons — which, on my end, are that kids become less portable as they get older. And yet there was a part of me that thought, ‘I don’t think I'm done with the guy,’” Lincoln told The Hollywood Reporter in January. “I love this character; I love the world that we inhabit. So why don’t we try to potentially continue this story in a different way and maybe complete his story so the mothership can continue?”

The Walking Dead Season 10 returns with new episodes Feb. 23, 2020 on AMC. For more TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.