Andrew Lincoln, who has played Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead for the past eight years, will be leaving the show after the next season. The show became a cult classic rapidly after its first season in 2010, spawning a whole host of games and spin-offs.

Reported via Collider, they state that the ninth season will be the actor’s last season. Comicbook.com also reported the story, citing ‘multiple independent stories’. AMC will officially announce Lincoln’s departure ahead of his final episodes.

Rick has been the central character for most of the show, so fans should expect some deviation when Lincoln does leave the show. This will coincide with Lauren Cohan’s leave from the show. She plays Maggie and has done since Season 2 (the show’s lowest-rated season). She will star in only six episodes this year, due to her also starring in ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier.

AMC is looking to Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl, a character specific to the show, to take the lead. It would make sense given how popular his character has become over his character arc. He could definitely carry the show; the same way Lincoln has done.

While The Walking Dead is still popular, Season 8 hit a low that was far removed from the record-breaking numbers it has seen in the past.

Could be worse. We could have a Carl centric series.

That would be just awful.

I don’t even want to imagine that.