The end is nigh for Rick Grimes stans. Collider exclusively broke the news this summer that Andrew Lincoln was leaving The Walking Dead during the upcoming season, and now AMC has revealed exactly when that will be. Season 9 got underway earlier this month and thus far the show hasn’t made too many allusions to Rick’s departure, but it appears that Andrew Lincoln’s final episode as the star of the series will be coming on November 4th with an episode titled “What Comes After.”
This is the fifth episode of the season, which is in line with what we heard earlier this year when word broke that Lincoln was making his exit. Indeed, Lincoln actually revealed that he intended to leave the show during Season 8, but changed his mind and decided to finish out one more entire season. The actor has anchored this series since 2010 as the show has gone through major behind-the-scenes upheaval and a number of other character exits. Lincoln said it was simply time for him to leave the series so he could spend more time with his family—the show shoots in Atlanta, but Lincoln lives in the U.K.
It’s still unclear as to whether Rick will be killed off the series, or if he’ll ride off into the sunset. We know that Jon Bernthal is returning to the show as Shane for one episode, probably in flashback form. It’s a solid bet that Bernthal’s return will be in the November 4th episode, which is the fifth of the season.
Greg Nicotero, who handles special makeup FX for the series but was subsequently promoted to an executive producer and made his directorial debut in Season 2, is at the helm of “What Comes After.” The episode was written by Matthew Megrete and Scott M. Gimple, the latter of whom served as showrunner from Season 3 to Season 8 and has now stepped back to an advisory role.
So now all we have to do is wait. It’ll be interesting to see if next week’s installment, “The Obliged”, gives us a hint as to how Rick will make his exit, or if we’ll be going into Episode 5 blind.