"No," Reedus says simply, when asked on-set of the zombie drama whether or not he will be the show's new Rick. "I don't think anyone's gonna step up and be Rick." Instead, the series will emphasize its ensemble elements in Andrew Lincoln's absence. The British actor is set to make his exit in the first half of the show's ninth season.
"Everybody on the show is gonna step up and elevate their game and fill that hole," Reedus said. "I don't think there could be a new Rick. I know the internet's like, 'Screw, Norman! Who does he think he is?' I've just got to sit there go, 'Oh, whatever.' Everybody sort of steps up to the plate."
Of course, it's not easy to say goodbye to Lincoln after sharing eight years working with him in the Atlanta area and touring the globe to promote the show. "The best thing, not even the story, but Andy as an actor, as a person, as a friend," Reedus said, "When people show up on the set for the first time, he's the first person that says 'Hello.' He's the first one there. He's the last one to leave. He's the one that's like, 'Come on, guys! Stop f---ing around! Let's do-' I would look at him and I'd go, 'Do the thing.' 'Come on, guys! Let's get this thing!' and just all this stuff. I'd be like, "'This is really good. Louder.'"
Like the show's executive producer Greg Nicotero, Reedus has felt a major impact by Lincoln. "He's been that guy for me," Reedus said. "He's really set the bar high for taking it serious. In a world of zombies and samurai swords and baseball bats and all these things, if we don't play it truthfully as honest as we can, it will just fall apart. He really fought to do that, so in his honor, we're trying to keep that torch lit."
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. The Walking Dead returns for its ninth season on Oct. 7, 2018. For more updates and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter!