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Bad news Rick fans, Andrew Lincoln can "categorically say" he’s not returning to The Walking Dead TV show

Rick Grimes may have some more stuff and thangs in the pipeline, but Andrew Lincoln has confirmed he will never, ever return to The Walking Dead TV show. What we saw last Sunday in The Walking Dead season 9, episode 5 is Rick’s final goodbye to the series – at least ahead of those three planned Walking Dead movies.

During an interview with The New York Times, Lincoln was faced with a question regarding how The Walking Dead likes using cop-outs – remember Glenn disappearing under the dumpster for two episodes? – and if that’s going to be the case for Rick. Lincoln was unequivocal as he was blunt: “I can categorically say that I will not be returning to the TV show.”

Well, that’s that then? Not quite. Andrew Lincoln is reportedly (via EW) returning to direct a Walking Dead season 10 episode. So, even if you can’t see him in front of the camera, his fingerprints will be all over a future episode, which is something at least.

Plus, of course, there’s the movies. Lincoln is “very relieved” he can talk about them now, as there “was a concern that we start saying one thing and people are anticipating a death, and we don’t give them that.” It sure sounds like he’s made peace with leaving the TV show for good and can start looking towards a blockbuster future.

Those feature-length productions, though, could still be a way off, so we’re facing the very real possibility of 2019 being the first Rick-less year since The Walking Dead made its grisly bow in 2010. It might be worth reading Andrew Lincoln’s goodbye letter for the 45th time this week. I know I’m going to.

Want to know more about Andrew Lincoln's departure? Here are 5 questions we had about Rick Grimes leaving the show.

Bradley Russell

GamesRadar+'s Entertainment Writer. Lover of all things Nintendo, in a tortured love/hate relationship with Crystal Palace, and also possesses an unhealthy knowledge of The Simpsons (which is of no use at parties).