Few shows have dared to continue past their hero, but The Walking Dead will be put to the test when it bids farewell to its leading protagonist Rick Grimes during the bittersweet arrival of season nine.
Andrew Lincoln confirmed hes quit his role as the miserable sheriff during a visibly emotional speech during last months San Diego Comic-con, after months of speculation – and the premature announcement from creator Robert Kirkman.
And its probably no coincidence that TWDs spin-off series Fear of The Walking Dead is taking the same leap after killing its heroine Madison Clark, though, bosses have suggested Rick will be one of the fortunate characters from zombie drama to leave with their life intact.
While little can be confirmed about the shows future right now, Lincolns former co-star Lennie James – who jumped ship to spin-off series FOTWD as Morgan – has stressed exclusively to Metro.co.uk that both series will forever live in the shadows of Madison and Rick.
The only thing I can really say about those without giving any spoilers if that they are both these stories that have to be navigated, he told us. The essence of both of those characters is going to be felt not just through the remaining episodes of season nine but possibly for seasons to come in the future.
I doubt the fall out of those characters will be glassed over in what remains of our seasons. I think both of those characters cast huge shadows and both those shows will exist in the shadows that they left behind.
Being abandoned by both Rick and Madison wasnt welcomed news for fans, understandably, but the move to march on is undeniably brave.
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Its not taking the easy path, James continued. I think its important to say that when we talk about The Walking Dead universe, its not just lip-sync to prove anyone can die, we mean anybody can go.
No one is secure in this world and sometimes we have to remind the audience and remind ourselves of that, and to a lesser – or greater – extent, both those passings are brave and great examples of that.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on October 7 and is expected to follow a day later on FOX UK.