"The Walking Dead" cast and producers will be at Comic-Con today for the official Season 9 trailer and premiere date. (There's already a Comic-Con teaser, see below.)
Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) will be on the panel, presumably to address in some way all of the chatter about his exit. Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene Rhee) is meant to be leaving after just a few episodes of Season 9, too, but Rick Grimes has been our zombie apocalypse tour guide since he got out of that coma in Season 1.
What is the show without Rick?
In an interview for IMDb, Kevin Smith talked to comic book writer/executive producer Robert Kirkman about Andrew Lincoln leaving.
"It's looking that way," Kirkman said, with a little chuckle. He's notorious for trolling, but his further comments to Smith do make it pretty clear that Lincoln is really exiting the show.
Smith asked how Lincoln leaving affects him as the writer of the ongoing comic book series, where Rick Grimes is still lead character (along with Carl Grimes). Here's Kirkman's response:
"It does make the differences between the comic and the show more pronounced. But at the end of the day, it's all about Andrew Lincoln. This is a human being. This is someone I have known for almost a decade, somebody that I love. He's been sweating in Georgia, away from his family, for so long."
Here's the part that most sounds like confirmation that Lincoln is leaving:
"He cares about the fans. He cares about the show deeply. He wants to do something special on the way out. We have something amazing planned. I wouldn't want to spoil anything, but anybody who has been a fan of his journey, who loves Rick Grimes, who loves the world of The Walking Dead, you're going to want to see what we do."
So now they're using Rick's departure -- death or otherwise -- as a tease to try to get people to watch the show again. A lot of fans have given up along the way, leading to a massive ratings drop.
Here's Kirkman's interview:
The late afternoon (Friday, July 20) Comic-Con panel will feature this lineup, along with the full trailer:
Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, along with executive producers Angela Kang, Scott M. Gimple, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, and Greg Nicotero. The panel will be moderated by Yvette Nicole Brown.
Here's the trailer tease:
And here's the key art AMC already shared, showing new looks for Rick and Maggie after the coming time jump:
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