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Andrew Lincoln’s ‘The Walking Dead’ Exit Has Left Some Cast Members Shaken

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The upcoming exit of Andrew Lincoln has understandably left a lot of the series’ long-time fans concerned over the future of The Walking Dead. Lincoln, obviously, is the leader of the show and the guy who drove a large number of The Walking Dead plots. His absence will reverberate for the rest of the series, and for some, it may mean the end of the line as a viewer if new showrunner Angela Kang cannot prove that the series can be just as strong without its lead.

Viewers, however, are not the only people who have expressed concern. Lincoln’s fellow cast members on the series were also understandably worried after hearing that one of the series’ biggest draws was leaving. It is an ensemble show, but after the loss of so many familiar faces over the last few seasons — Glenn, Abraham, Sasha, Carl — the composition of the cast has shifted so much that it’s beginning to feel like a different series. The question is: Will it be a better one?

That’s probably exactly what was on the mind of Khary Payton — who plays Ezekiel — when he learned that Andrew Lincoln was leaving the series. “It’s been tough for everybody and when I found out about it, I started packing my bags,” he said during The Walking Dead season nine preview special, clearly recognizing that the show might not be able to move forward without Lincoln.

Katelyn Nacon, who plays Enid, echoed that sentiment when speaking with ComicBook.com. “For me, I was really scared because I was like, ‘Oh, crap. Our show’s going to go into the gutter.”

Likewise, Cooper Andrews — who plays Jerry — worried about the future of the show without Lincoln. “My reaction, I was shocked. I thought it was a joke. I was in Canada when I found out and I was like, ‘What’s going on?'”

Nevertheless, while both shock and concern were a common theme among these The Walking Dead cast members, it sounds like Angela Kang and the new scripts have convinced them that the show will continue to work without Lincoln.

“There’s a moment that happens in the story we’re telling, and I went over to my suitcase and I started unpacking,” Payton added to his earlier statement. “How do you go on without Rick Grimes? I read this moment, and I’m pretty sure everyone will know it when they see it, and it’s arresting. I thought, ‘Oh my god, we’ve got so much more to do!’ My drawers are full.”

Cooper Andrews is likewise excited about the future of the show. “The story, and not to sound like a broken record but the story really is not over. This is the most excited I’ve been for a story in years as a fan. This is going to be a really exciting season and I think it’s going to be placing everyone in a different area to what we’ve seen.”

Fans will certainly grieve the loss of Lincoln, but whether they stick around after his departure may rely on just how “arresting” that moment Payton describes really is. The pressure is certainly on for Angela Kang and the writers for the upcoming season, which kicks off in October.

Sources: Comicbookmovie, ComicBook

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