Fans of The Walking Dead are not the only ones still processing the upcoming painful departure of series lead Andrew Lincoln. Greg Nicotero, who wears many hats on the series, including executive producer, director, and makeup supervisor, is still not over Lincoln's exit. Nicotero opened up about his feelings surrounding the star's departure, saying:

I think I'm still in denial. I keep thinking he's still going to walk down the hallway.

Unfortunately for fans of Andrew Lincoln and his Walking Dead character, that is unlikely to happen. The actor took many by surprise when he announced his exit from the series, which he has led ever since it premiered nearly a decade ago in 2010. It is one of the most high-profile exits by a lead from a series that will still be pushing on in their absence, and speculation has not let up regarding how Lincoln's Rick will exit the story.

Nevertheless, it is still possible to be in denial over it happening. Greg Nicotero shared more about Andrew Lincoln's exit in his interview with Business Insider. Spending as long as Nicotero has with Lincoln, it makes sense for him to still be sifting through the latter's absence from the popular series. Nicotero provided some prime insight into their bond and how they collaborated on episodes of the show. Taking fans behind-the-scenes of his and Lincoln's work together, Nicotero said:

We've shared a lot. This season, Andy has great instincts. Every time we get together, and it's an episode that I'm directing, we'll get together at my house, and we'll read the scripts together. He'll do his character, and then, I'll read the other characters, and we sit, and we dissect the story, and we dissect the script, and we make sure that it feels authentic to who we believe the characters are. It's been an amazing opportunity to collaborate with an actor like him, and a friend like him. It's still weird. It's so weird.

Given how close they have become during his run on the series, it only makes sense that Greg Nicotero would be the one to direct Andrew Lincoln's final scenes on the show, and he will. Talk about a bittersweet feeling. Nicotero did not hold back from offering a little tease of what fans can expect from Lincoln's inevitably emotional finale. Without going into great detail as to avoid spoiling it, Nicotero spoke highly of the episode calling it "magnificent."

As well-chronicled as Andrew Lincoln's exit from The Walking Dead has been, it is fantastic to hear from someone as integral to the production as Greg Nicotero is to the zombie series. It provides a different angle and insight into the collaborative relationship Lincoln has had with the show. The exit of a mainstay can often herald a considerable adjustment for fans, as well as those behind the camera, as they deal with a reset of sorts.

How Rick will exit is the question on the top of many fans' minds, and Greg Nicotero did not give anything away as to how exactly that will unravel. He did mention that Rick's journey throughout the episode will touch on the "the highlights" that have punctuated the series' run so far. Whether all of that will culminate in a montage of sorts that has Rick watching his life flash before his eyes, only time will tell.

Find out how Rick's exit story transpires when The Walking Dead returns this fall, along with a ton of other shows. Season 9 will premiere Sunday, October 7 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

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