Andrew Lincoln to leave The Walking Dead after season 9

The star is slated to appear in only six more episodes of the AMC hit

Andrew Lincoln The Walking Dead AMC
The Walking Dead (AMC)

Andrew Lincoln is preparing to do what many TV lovers did two seasons ago: He’s walking away from The Walking Dead.

Entertainment Weekly has confirmed through an anonymous source that the upcoming season of AMC’s flesh-eating hit drama will be Lincoln’s last. What’s more, his final run will take place over only six episodes.

Lincoln’s departure comes on the heels of co-star Lauren Cohan’s contract negotiation, which saw Cohan holding out for a more lucrative deal. The negotiations resulted in a reduced commitment for Cohan who, Deadline reports, will also appear in only six of the eight episodes that will make up the show’s first half-season.

(Read: The Walking Dead and Why It’s Time to Bury the Zombies)

Lincoln’s departure, regardless of the circumstances in which his character, Rick, departs (hint: probably death), will dramatically change the landscape of a show that’s already endured significant shakeups. Chandler Riggs, who played Rick’s son Carl, departed the show earlier this year. Co-producer Angela Kang has taken over as showrunner, succeeding from Scott M. Gimple, who assumed the role of Chief Content Officer for The Walking Dead and spinoff Fear the Walking Dead.

Both Deadline and Entertainment Weekly’s pieces make a point of assuring fans that Norman Reedus isn’t going anywhere. So hey, Darryl fans, congrats. Your boy’s about to get a lot more screen time.