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Norman Reedus & Andrew Lincoln had a pact to leave The Walking Dead together

During San Diego Comic-Con, Andrew Lincoln confirmed the rumours that the upcoming ninth season of The Walking Dead would indeed be the last we see of Rick Grimes. "I want to say something, because there seems to be an elephant in the room," Lincoln said. "This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes. Now hear me out, please. I love this show. It means everything to me. I love the people that make this show. I promise not to cry, I’ve done enough crying onscreen." As Andrew Lincoln has starred as Rick Grimes since the very beginning of the series, it will no doubt be a little shocking when The Walking Dead moves past the Rick Grimes story, but, we could have lost Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) at the same time as well, so, consider yourselves lucky.

When Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus recently chatted with Entertainment Weekly Radio, Reedus brought up a pact that the pair made many years ago which stipulated that when one left, so would the other. "We made a pact," Reedus said. "I think it was like season 3 or 4. We’re like, ‘If you leave, I leave. Right?’ And that was the thing." Lincoln responded by inquiring, "Are you leaving? Is this an announcement? Is this breaking news?" Reedus' response - "Oh, hell no." Let that be a lesson to you, never make a pact with Norman Reedus.

Norman Reedus considers Lincoln to be one of his closest friends, and although he's crushed to see him go, he certainly understands why.

He set the bar very high right from the beginning, and we’re always trying to keep it real. And he’s always in our heads while we’re trying to do that. He’s made me a better actor, a friend, a father, all the way down the line. He’s a very, very important person to me... When he told me he was thinking about doing this, I get it. I have a son in New York, and I’m constantly bouncing back and forth all these nine years to go see him. And I get it. He’s got two beautiful children, a beautiful wife. His whole family’s awesome, and you can’t be mad at him for going. It’s very understandable, but I’m going to miss the hell out of him.

The pair still communicate constantly, with Norman Reedus even saying that he sneaks Andrew Lincoln scripts for future episodes. As for just how Rick Grimes will make his exit from The Walking Dead, comic-creator Robert Kirkman wouldn't say, but he did tease that they've "got something amazing planned. I wouldn’t want to spoil anything, but anybody who’s been a fan of his journey, who loves Rick Grimes, who loves the world of The Walking Dead, you’re going to want to see what we do." The ninth season of The Walking Dead will return to AMC on October 7, 2018.

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