Former The Walking Dead leading man Andrew Lincoln was present on set during the filming of last Sunday's 912, "Guardians," as revealed by a behind-the-scenes photo shared by the Walking Dead Twitter account.
You can check it out below:
Filming wrapped on Season Nine in November. Ahead of his final episode of the series — November's 905, "What Comes After" — Lincoln declared he would be returning to The Walking Dead as a director in its tenth season, since officially renewed by network AMC.
"I'm going back," Lincoln told EW in September. "I'm going back to shadow a director, and my intention is to direct next year."
Lincoln ended his tenure with the show to rejoin his young family, who live overseas. The star next reprises his role as the long-missing Rick Grimes in a movie trilogy, which could shoot closer to Lincoln's home with an abbreviated filming schedule.
"I can't be that far away because I can't bear it," Lincoln said of turning director in the immediate wake of his exit from the zombie drama. "That's how much I am invested in the show and the continuation of the story."
Lincoln is only the third Walking Dead star to step behind the camera, following Fear the Walking Dead star Colman Domingo, who made his television directorial debut in the spinoff's fourth season, and Lincoln's former co-star Michael Cudlitz, who made his directorial debut with 907, "Stradivarius."
"I've always had a fascination with the language of film," Lincoln previously told The Associated Press. "And I'm a control freak. I have strong opinions aesthetically, and maybe it's time for me to own up to it and see if I can, you know, put my money where my mouth is."
Lincoln lingered on set and, in October, warned viewers upcoming villain Alpha (Samantha Morton) — who has since been introduced in the back half of the ongoing Season Nine, set after a six-year time jump that followed Rick's disappearance — was a terrifying force to be reckoned with.
The star also won over Walking Dead newcomer Ryan Hurst, whose towering Whisperer enforcer Beta made his series debut in 912, "Guardians."
"I heard all the stories about how wonderful Andy Lincoln is, right? And I'd never personally met him, and I heard so many stories, like in the press when all the people were like, 'He's the best guy in the whole world.' And I was like, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah. Everybody sort of says that. Of course, he's the lead guy on your show,'" Hurst told EW. "And then I show up to one of my first days of rehearsal, and Andy — who had already been off of the show — shows up to the set and welcomes me to the show and hangs out for the whole rehearsal, contributes to the scene, and I'm like, 'This guy's really cool!'"
Hurst quickly bonded with Lincoln and the Walking Dead Family, welcomed into its ranks over dinner.
"He's welcoming me to the show. Remember, he's not on the show anymore. And then he sits down and teaches me how to play backgammon. By the end of this night, I'm going, 'I think I'm in love with Andy Lincoln!' Literally, it is a really beautiful family atmosphere," Hurst added. "I know you're making this show about the end of the world, but the communal atmosphere of that show is like nothing I've ever really been a part of. It's so supportive. It's so unbelievably welcoming. I was really floored by how everyone bent over backward to welcome me to the show."
Lincoln has since permanently shifted to the movie side of the franchise and will not be returning to the mothership series, as revealed by Walking Dead chief content officer Scott Gimple in November.
The network has yet to mark a date for its Lincoln-led movie trilogy, which Lincoln expects to continue and then complete Rick's story. The Walking Dead Season Nine airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
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