Andrew Lincoln’s Walking Dead Exit Means Big Things For Norman Reedus

Rick and Daryl before Alexandria

The Walking Dead's next season is definitely going to be an interesting one. The apocalyptic drama will begin its whopping ninth year in the fall, with the series and its spinoff showing no signs of slowing down. While there is going to be plenty of zombie killing action in the future, OG cast members have been dropping like flies. Lauren Cohen is already set to have a part-time role on the series to facilitate her new show Whiskey Cavalier, and yesterday provided the massive shock that Andrew Lincoln would be departing his role as Rick Grimes during Season 9. This means big things for Norman Reedus, as it looks like Daryl will step up as the show's main hero.

After Rick and Maggie inevitably depart the show, only Daryl and Carol will be left from the original Atlanta Group and The Farm. The Walking Dead has always been focused on Rick's journey through the apocalypse, so the show is going to need a new protagonist to pivot with. Daryl is the undisputed fan favorite, so he seems like the right choice. Norman Reedus was reportedly able to use this to his advantage, securing a new $20 million deal to stay on as his signature character.

News of Norman Reedus' raise comes to us from THR, and makes complete sense for everyone involved. Considering how long The Walking Dead has been running, and how famously difficult the shooting schedule is, you can't blame the actors for wanting a change of pace. Andrew Lincoln has every right to want to hang up his cowboy hat once and for all, and TWD is going to continue finding a way to craft new stories and introduce new characters. Since Daryl is so beloved by the fandom, he seems like a logical character to zero in on. With Reedus also working for AMC for Ride with Norman Reedus, the guy has earned a serious pay bump.

Andrew Lincoln is just the latest Walking Dead OG actor to plan an exit from the show. Season 8 shocked the fans by killing off Chandler Riggs' Carl Grimes, who was in the show since its very first episode. Both Riggs and his family have expressed their disappointment in Carl's fate, and one has to wonder if the writers and showrunner might have done things differently if they knew Rick was on his way out. TWD could have easily shifted its focus on Carl, as some fan theories predicted the show as actually all shown through the boy's eyes. This turned out to be not true, as The Walking Dead killed off Carl, allowing Riggs to take new roles and eventually start college.

All will be revealed when The Walking Dead returns this fall. For now, you can catch Fear The Walking Dead Sundays on AMC. In the meantime, check out our summer premiere list to plan your next binge watch. Plus our Amazon premiere list and superhero premiere list to ensure you don't miss single episode.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.