Rick will reportedly leave during The Walking Dead season 9 (with Daryl becoming the lead) - but how will he go?

Goodbyes are never easy, but when a character has been on your screens for nigh-on a decade, it’s especially hard. The Walking Dead season 9 will reportedly be Andrew Lincoln’s (AKA, Rick Grimes) final season, but the show has no plans to finish just yet.

While no concrete details have come out of Collider’s report stating Lincoln is finished with The Walking Dead, there are a few interesting tidbits. Namely, Norman Reedus is apparently taking over as lead; as an original TV character, Daryl Dixon as lead will pull the series even further away from the comics than ever before – which can only be a good thing.

But will Rick bite the bullet (or bite the bite, in this case)? Lincoln is rumoured to only be in six out of the 16 episodes in the final season, indicating either a shock early exit or Rick might be flitting in and out of the season – almost as a backdoor pilot for a Rick-less show – before saying his goodbyes.

My best guess is a happy ending for Rick. Let him find love, peace, anything, because a brutal death would be too much for even this show. Now that Negan has been neutralised, it feels like nothing can topple Rick and, come on, a Maggie-instigated death would be just horrible to watch.

Even so, it’s going to be tough. Carl’s death in The Walking Dead season 8 was bad enough, and it’s not too often that main characters take their bow with the show continuing in its absence.

If nothing else, 2019 is going to be a killer: no Rick, Avengers 4, and Game of Thrones season 8. We’d best start mentally preparing now.

If you’re more interested in this year’s TV offerings here’s all the new TV shows coming your way in 2018, should you want to mark your calendars in anticipation.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.