Andrew Lincoln is keeping Georgia on his mind. The Rick Grimes actor says he wishes he'd "never left" the home state of The Walking Dead, where the English actor filmed nine seasons of the zombie drama. When Lincoln decided to leave the mothership series early into season 9, flying Rick away from The Walking Dead aboard a helicopter piloted by the Civic Republic Military, the father of two explained he wished to spend more time with family overseas. As Lincoln prepares to return to the Walking Dead Universe in the spin-off feature film he expects to shoot in spring 2021, the Walking Dead star quips it was a "terrible decision" to leave:
"I didn't know what the South was. I'd never been to the South. And then I went to Georgia, and I fell in love with this extraordinary city, Atlanta," Lincoln said during a live Walking Dead cast reunion and fundraiser for the Georgia Senate Victory Fund on Sunday. "Living and working in the South was extraordinary ... [Georgia is] the most extraordinarily progressive place I've ever been in my life, and that was 12 years ago."
The live-streamed virtual fundraiser reunited Lincoln with former co-stars Danai Gurira (Michonne), Norman Reedus (Daryl), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan), Lennie James (Morgan), Christian Serratos (Rosita), and Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) in support of Georgia Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
"You guys I love. I mean, the connection that we have to the land, to the place, to the people," Lincoln told his castmates. "Arthur — my 10-year-old son — won't let me take a job unless it's in Georgia now (laughs). He just misses it. He goes, 'Take me back there!' I came back home for the kids, and now they're sick of me, and I wish I'd never left. It was a terrible decision (laughs)."
It's unclear whether AMC Networks and Skybound Entertainment intend to film the untitled Walking Dead Movie in Georgia, where the Walking Dead cast recently completed a six-week shoot on the new extended season 10 episodes airing in early 2021. Lincoln is currently in London playing Ebenezer Scrooge in live-streamed performances of A Christmas Carol.
"I mean, there's only so many sports days you can miss and really call yourself a father, so I think it was time for me to get back for some important days and just be around and have some continuity back home," Lincoln told Access ahead of his Walking Dead exit in 2018.
Lincoln returned to The Walking Dead's Georgia set during season 9 filming to shadow directors ahead of his planned season 10 directorial debut on the series, but scheduling conflicts prevented Lincoln from stepping behind the camera. Showrunner Angela Kang previously said the door is always open for Lincoln to return to The Walking Dead "any time" he wants, but the Rick Grimes actor is not expected to appear in the eleventh and final season airing between 2021 and 2022.
The Walking Dead Movie has not set a release date.