The characters of The Walking Dead have gone through hell and back a few times over the seven seasons so far, and some of them have proven pretty hard to kill off. Rick Grimes seems to be in for the long zombie apocalypse haul, and so actor Andrew Lincoln has enjoyed surprisingly solid job security for a show. That said, the Season 7 episode "Say Yes" evidently spooked Lincoln so much he was convinced that Rick might finally be killed off. Norman Reedus revealed this story about Lincoln's reaction to the episode script:
I remember him calling me in a total... panic. I had to talk him off the ledge after he read that script. We were on the phone for a couple of hours.
Norman Reedus shared Andrew Lincoln's reaction to "Say Yes" in a chat with L.A. Times, and it points to a solid friendship between the two men. Daryl Dixon and Rick Grimes are two characters who are probably among the safest from being killed off, but the actors evidently still need reassurance and support from time to time.
All things considered, it's hard to blame Andrew Lincoln for panicking at the prospect of getting the axe from The Walking Dead. He has a starring role on one of the biggest shows on television, and it's a job that he clearly loves (whenever he's not being pranked by Norman Reedus). Who wouldn't need a little bit of a pep talk in his shoes?
Andrew Lincoln also spoke with L.A. Times about the idea of Rick dying. He explained why Rick's death feels so much more plausible in Season 7 than ever before, saying this:
I'm the dude that woke up in the hospital in the very beginning -- I'd like to think there's a bit of job security there. But then suddenly Negan turns up, with that crazy baseball bat, and all bets are off. Don't get me wrong. I think Rick is very much in the fabric of the show. But then, so was Glenn. We're all expendable on this show.
Executive producer Greg Nicotero has spoken about how hard it was to film the scene in which Glenn (and Abraham) were brutally beaten to death, so it's not surprising that the huge deaths stuck with Andrew Lincoln now that The Walking Dead is in the era of Negan. He can't even take all that much solace in the fact that his counterpart is still alive and kicking in Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead series of comic books. The show has taken all kinds of liberties with the source material; Rick's survival on the page doesn't guarantee his survival on the screen.
Still, if I were a bettin' gal, I'd put my money on Rick surviving at least the end of Season 7. He's definitely crossing some major lines with Negan, and Negan might actually be smart to use Rick's head for batting practice, but I'm mostly worried about Sasha at this point. Sonequa Martin-Green landed a new gig at CBS All Access, and Sasha's currently in some pretty dire straits. I'm guessing Andrew Lincoln makes it to the end without Rick being bashed off to that great zombie apocalypse sanctuary in the sky.
We'll have to wait and see. Obviously, neither Andrew Lincoln nor Norman Reedus spilled any details about who will or will not be a goner by the end of Season 7, so we can only wait and see. The Season 7 finale of The Walking Dead airs on Sunday, April 2 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. Be sure to check out our rundown of all the 2017 TV renewals and cancellations, and don't forget to take a gander at our summer TV premiere schedule.