The wait for The Walking Dead Season 9 is very nearly over. While fans are undoubtedly looking forward to seeing the return of the show after a long hiatus, the beginning of the season is also the beginning of the end for Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes. Fans aren't the only ones who are going to miss what he brings to the show, as his Walking Dead co-star and best bro Norman Reedus shared that he tried to talk Lincoln out of leaving. Here's how Reedus described his process of learning about Lincoln's departure:

I was the first to know. I knew before it was even brought up. You know, I mean that dude's kind of been my BFF forever. I talk to him in the morning before work. I talk to him at lunch. I talk to him as soon as we wrap. Like, I'm at his house, he's at my house. We made a pact early on like 'If you leave, I leave. Don't leave without me.' Especially during a time when like people were dropping like flies all of the sudden! He told me like ages in advance and, of course, I tried to talk him out of it and, 'Move your family to New York! I'm in New York, you know it's an hour and a half!' I did all of the tricks but I understood why he left, you know, I get it. I totally get it. He had two kids and you live a million miles away.

Well, Norman Reedus gets an A for effort! Judging by his comments to ComicBook.com, Reedus tried to persuade his zombie apocalypse pal to stick around The Walking Dead. Andrew Lincoln has said that the time was right to leave the show because he wanted to spend more time with his family, who live in England. Flying back and forth across the ocean to spend time with his wife and children had to be exhausting. Reedus' suggestion was for Lincoln to bring his family across the pond to live in New York, which would have solved the issue of travel time. A flight from Atlanta to New York is a lot shorter than Atlanta to London.

Alas, Norman Reedus' pitch for Andrew Lincoln to move his family to New York so he could stay on The Walking Dead didn't work, and Reedus understands Lincoln's decision. Now, he might feel guilty if Lincoln confessed that he was leaving The Walking Dead because of those pranks Reedus pulled on him (in the heat!), but the two seem to have a very solid friendship. Although their pact to both leave if one of them had to leave obviously fell through and Reedus stands to get a big bump in pay and prominence once Rick is gone (possibly to the great beyond), he's clearly going to miss having Lincoln around. His tribute to Lincoln shortly after news of his departure broke is as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking.

It should be interesting to see Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln's final scenes together in Season 9. Season 8 ended with a rift between their characters and Daryl siding with Maggie against Rick after the decision not to kill Negan, and although the trailer proves that they'll go on at least one shared motorcycle ride together, we can only speculate at this point if their relationship will end with them on good terms. Hopefully they'll still be buddies. They've been the closest thing to brothers each has had since Rick lost Shane and Daryl lost Merle, and given that Rick is probably going to have to die for Andrew Lincoln's absence to make sense, it would be a bummer if Rick died when he and Daryl were on bad terms. At least Lincoln will be back, even if it's not in front of the camera!

The good news is that we don't have too much longer to wait for a look at the bros back in action. The Walking Dead kicks off in the 2018 fall lineup on Sunday, October 7 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

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