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Andrew Lincoln Reported to Be Leaving Walking Dead; Norman Reedus Rumored to Be New Leading Man

Updated on May 31, 2018
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More of a journalist by education, Jennifer Branton does the occasional ramble in the form of fiction.

Walking On

While the last few seasons of AMC's The Walking Dead have been more painful to sit through than a lobotomy, as the plot drags on at a snails pace for over two seasons now about "What to do about Negan", stars having been dropping off the program to take up other projects as ratings continue to fall.

Despite the drop, plenty of people are still watching the series though as it rolls into its ninth season with a new show runner hoping to put back together the pieces and recreate the magic of earlier seasons after the replacement of Scott Gimple, who fans turned on after the decision to kill off character Carl Grimes, son of main character Rick.

On the show since a young age, fans had a love hate relationship with Carl as he was a liability to the safety of the group that just as he had come into his own as one of the most respected of the survivors, was killed off in a zombie bite that had fans so riled up you would think it was "Glenn Under The Dumpster" all over again. Deviating far from the source material at this point, and moving character Morgan onto the sister show Fear The Walking Dead to eventually merge the two is doing no favors either.

Actress Lauren Cohen, is said to be departing for a major role on another series after Season 9 leaving the future of Maggie's storyline in a lurch and the recent announcement of the departure of Andrew Lincoln's Rick as well, might be a sinking ship not worth saving- even as network execs hope that casting Norman Reedus' fan favorite character, Daryl Dixon as the new main character will bring back the viewers.


With Lauren Cohen taking a new series, and now the departure of Andrew Lincoln at some point in Season 9, deviating far from the source material, AMC is still hoping for the "If Daryl Dies We Riot" mentality of the earlier seasons when the sassy, crossbow toting bad boy with the heart of gold charmed viewers, but with less and less story line, and dialogue in later seasons moving Daryl into the background as a prop- does he still have the popularity to be the main star?

20 Million Dollar Offer

While sources report actor Norman Reedus is still in negotiations over the $20 Million that could be coming his way for stepping up as the main protagonist after Rick either dies or walks off into the sunset or whatever after the first half of the filming season- do we really want to see the exist of Rick and more of Daryl?

Seasons ago, as a rabid Daryl fan, I would have loved to see this change as Rick flip flopped from coma surrivor, to warrior, then farmer, then beloved leader; his choices becoming more and more questionable and putting the groups in more and more danger by the time of all out war. Now as a grieving father, so much of the last season has been working up to the moment where Rick must decide if Negan should live or die after all that has happened in the wake of the war.

Where son Carl had written letters to various members of the communities and asked that they learn to live in peace with one another, Rick isn't sure that the man that caused so much pain deserves a second chance. In the graphic novels though, Rick- and a one eyed Carl who is still very much around just as a most of the notable characters that have been merged into other story lines, or killed off on the show; Rick lets Negan live for many years.

It seems that the group is already scheming to keep from letting Rick do this on the show, so could this be his downfall?

And let's talk Daryl.

Being emotionally broken over the deaths of so many characters in the last few seasons and blaming himself for Glenn, Abraham, and somehow Denise who he share only maybe a few group shots with except for the death scene- a broken Daryl is far more emotionally fragile that he ever was in earlier seasons.

This could be a dangerous man to try to follow.

After the decline of Daryl as a main character and he was pushed more to the background with at least one or two good battle scenes per season, Reedus remained one of the highest paid and fan favorites of the series, but does the character still have the charisma that made The Walking Dead the Daryl hour seasons before? As the viewership continues to decline, the actor who declares his love for the show in every interview could cause even more of a decline.


Jumping The Shark

Where The Walking Dead has been accused of many shameless ploys in the last few seasons including the "Who Shot Mr Burns" ending of a season and making fans guess all summer who was at the receiving end of Negan's bat, to as many fake outs of who might be dead that we haven't seen for half a season and forgot about only to show up and get their own solo episode that revealed a plot point that wasn't going to be utilized for an entire season- ahem Tara...

The show that once spent an hour each week as a story of survival and finding a cure- anyone else still remember the CDC from Season One and how no pursuit of finding anyone else with medical knowledge to confirm the virus is already in everyone and you turn no matter what. Now I watch most episodes, if at all in fast forward hoping for more than ten minutes of dialogue between non stop shooting that is less accurate than a Storm Trooper.

Weren't these the same heroes that made it while all others had failed because they had gotten their tactical skills in check and now no one can hit Negan and his lieutenants while standing out in the open with machine guns...

After complaints of the gruesome violence, the show has toned it down too much and the beauty that came from a well crafted zombie is hardly in the show anymore as to be expected this late in the series, most have rotted away into snapping puddles on the ground.

If no new walkers are ever made and the walkers that are still around are just rotting chunks of meat without enough muscle to move anymore, this has just become the story of various groups warring over supplies.

And without Rick, I really want to know what will happen if they go into the Whisperers story...

Dumpster Gate was cheap. The entire feel of the show has changed from emotionally charged to hardly any emotion.

Can bringing Daryl to the forefront turn this around?


If Daryl Leaves We Riot

The Walking Dead may no longer follow the graphic novels, but it has some huge problems in the coming seasons with the exit of Cohen and Lincoln, and whoever else is killed off or decides to go in Season 9.

The story of Maggie's child- although still not showing her as pregnant and never spoken about again no matter how much time has passed since Glenn has died, the future leadership of the Hilltop looks to be divided between Jesus and Enid if Maggie somehow dies off or for whatever reason is written out depending on how producers write it.

Contractually, it is said she is only appearing in the first half of the season- the same six episodes we have to say goodbye as well to Rick and bring Daryl up to speed as the great uniter of the groups.

Even toned down after the death of his friends, I don't think Daryl has enough fight left in him to be the kind of leader Rick was at his best.

Even the strongest of allies, Carol want nothing to do with this new world and unless Daryl can pull together everyone again, this could really be the last real season for the show that hardly anyone is watching anymore.

What exactly is Reedus in negation for? Will his character also leave the show is ratings continue to plunge? Really the only thing The Walking Dead has going for it anymore is the amount of money AMC has sunk into this show with a dedicated talk show about it and a sister series.

Will enough viewers even be around at the point where Rick and Maggie are lost, or as I fear is this another cheap attempt to get fans to keep hanging on over the summer to see how Daryl will somehow pull this all together?

I admit I've been turned off on the show for the last few seasons, but I have the smallest amount of interest in how this will all come together.


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