The Walking Dead aired its 100th episode last night — the season 8 premiere, “Mercy” — and while the show’s cast has changed quite dramatically since the first episode back in 2010, one actor who has been around since the beginning is Andrew Lincoln. Prior to landing the starring role as Rick Grimes in the zombie drama, Lincoln was perhaps best known for his role as Mark in the 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually, so it’s fair to say that The Walking Dead has been his biggest role to date. And while it doesn’t look like we should expect to see Lincoln go anywhere anytime soon, there is a possibility that Rick’s days are numbered.
Speaking with Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick last night, Lincoln suggested that the AMC series could “absolutely” change hands down the road and pass on the protagonist role to Rick’s son, Carl (Chandler Riggs). In fact, Lincoln is open to the idea of Rick dying at some point, stating: “There comes a point where there are too many gray hairs on your chin. I think the audience deserves an end game. It’s a lot of time to invest in a story without some kind of resolution.”
While many consider Rick to be one of the “safest” characters on The Walking Dead, series creator Robert Kirkman has stated that the character will die before the series comes to an end. “I’ve said before, Rick does not survive to the end,” Kirkman said at San Diego Comic Con 2017. “It was years ago so you guys probably forgot, but I foresee there being more story after his eventual demise.”
Interestingly, Lincoln also joked with Hardwick about what life may have been like had he not been cast in The Walking Dead and how the show sort of prevented him from starring in some other big franchises, including Star Wars. “I may have been a cheese maker. Or a big farmer. But Dave Morrissey [The Walking Dead’s Governor] and I … we used to sort of joke that we were the only actors in British Equity that hadn’t been in the Harry Potter franchise, so maybe I would have been wizarding about Hogwarts or hobbit-ing about Middle Earth, and I always fancied the idea of getting my hands around a lightsaber.”
Star Wars Episode IX probably isn’t going to start shooting until sometime in 2018, so there’s still time Andrew. Keep the dream alive!