'The Walking Dead': Andrew Lincoln, Lauren Cohan Removed From Credits, Norman Reedus Gets Top Billing

In its first episode without Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan, The Walking Dead has removed the names of two of its longest running stars from its opening credits.

Beginning with Episode 9x06, Daryl Dixon actor Norman Reedus is given top billing on the show. With Reedus' name appearing first, it is followed by Michonne actress Danai Gurira, Carol actress Melissa McBride, Tara actress Alanna Masterson, Eugene actor Josh McDermitt, Father Gabriel actor Seth Gilliam, Aaron actor Ross Marquand, Enid actress Katelyn Nacon, Jesus actor Tom Payne, and King Ezekiel actor Khary Payton. To round out the animated credits, it reads "With Jeffrey Dean Morgan" across the screen. Other cast members such as Callan McCauliffe, Christian Serratos, Dan Fogler, and others are named beyond the animated credits.

"My relationship with this part is far from over," Lincoln told ComicBook.com at San Diego Comic Con. As it turns out, the actor was being completely truthful, as he is now set to reprise the role for a trilogy of films which will follow Rick Grimes in the six years which have kept him away from Alexandria and his family.

The Walking Dead executive producer and director of Episode 9x05, Greg Nicotero, sat down with ComicBook.com on After the Dead to break down the episode and the creative decision behind each beat. "How do you kill Rick Grimes? You know?" Nicotero started. "I'm getting emails already going, 'Wait! He didn't die?!' I'm like, 'Guys, sorry!'"

As for Cohan's name disappearing from the opening credits, its because the actress who has played Maggie since The Walking Dead's second season has stepped away from the series for the remainder of Season Nine. Audiences will learn what happened to Maggie in coming episodes with a window left open for Cohan to reprise the role in the future, should the stars align.

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"I'll say first of all that we've still planned some more story with Maggie, Lauren wants to, it will be a little subject to her schedule but hopefully we have her back next season," The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang told ComicBook.com. "We have always planned to have this great story with Maggie this season and I think we promised something. We wanted to pay off that promise. We definitely have a very strong Maggie arc."

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.