Just in case you were wondering, the answer is no, Rick Grimes’ previously announced exit from The Walking Dead in its upcoming ninth season is not a ruse. The character who has been leading the tattered remnants of humanity while squaring off against the titular zombies and their own is leaving the series for good. How the showrunners decide to remove Grimes from the picture remains a mystery, of course, and there are plenty of chances (and precedents) for the leaders being allowed to live, or not. But what about Andrew Lincoln, the actor who plays him?
According to Entertainment Weekly, Lincoln is currently on The Walking Dead set in Senoia, Georgia to learn the basic ins and outs of television directing. Why? Because he wants to become a director, and he wants to give it a shot during the show’s 10th season. “I’m going back,” he told EW. “I’m going back to shadow a director, and my intention is to direct next year.”
Just because Lincoln is shadowing a Walking Dead director doesn’t mean that he’ll be back next season. Then again, he wouldn’t be the first television actor or actress to transition from working in front of the camera to operating behind it. In fact, as EW points out, AMC’s zombie franchise already boasts two such examples. Michael Cudlitz, who played Abraham Ford, recently directed “Stradivarius,” the seventh episode of the current season set to air in November. Fear the Walking Dead‘s Colman Domingo also directed an episode of that show, titled “Weak.”