‘The Walking Dead’ director maintains that the show “will still be great” following Andrew Lincoln’s departure

While still not officially confirmed by AMC, numerous reports have claimed that Lincoln's time as protagonist Rick will end after season nine

A long-time director of The Walking Dead has maintained that the show “will still be great” after Andrew Lincoln’s expected departure following the conclusion of season nine.

News of Lincoln’s exit broke earlier this week, meaning that his time on The Walking Dead playing its central protagonist Rick Grimes will come to an end at the conclusion of the show’s upcoming ninth season, which is currently filming.

While network bosses at AMC has still yet to officially address the reports, Lincoln’s expected departure has seemingly been confirmed by Michael E. Satrazemis, who has directed 13 episodes of The Walking Dead since 2014.

The Walking Dead

Rick’s time is nearly up

As reported by ComicBook, Satrazemis acknowledged Lincoln’s exit from the show in a tribute post on Instagram – which has since been deleted.

The director’s written caption for the post read: “Many of us have spent the last 8 yrs [sic] of our lives living, working, creating, high fiving, hugging and sometimes even bleeding real blood with Andy [Lincoln]. All to make something special. He is one of the greatest men I’ve ever met. And a friend.

“The show will miss him as much as you,” he continued in reference to life on The Walking Dead following Rick’s departure. “It will be different but it will still be great. All of us who love making [The Walking Dead] keep creating our asses off and sometimes even bleed for you.”

Sources close to the show have suggested that Norman Reedus, who plays central character Daryl Dixon, will be offered the chance to step up to become the new face of The Walking Dead.