Andrew Lincoln leaving ‘The Walking Dead’ after season 9

Goodbye, Rick Grimes. Following season 9, Andrew Lincoln will leave The Walking Dead, multiple sources confirm to Us Weekly. The actor, 44, is only set to appear in six episodes of the ninth season.

“Andrew is leaving because he’s had enough of it and wants to focus his energy on movies,” an insider close to Lincoln tells Us. Additionally, a source tells Us exclusively that Lincoln’s costar, Norman Reedus, negotiated a $20 million paycheck to stay on.

Following the season 8 finale, Lincoln opened up about what’s next for Rick Grimes after taking down Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

“I think there is always going to be a sense of he’s lost all of the most important parts of himself, and yet he has the legacy and gift that Carl gave him that is going to fuel his ambitions for the future,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “He’s got a renewed purpose because of this and because of his son. So it’s absolutely a new man. This is the man who couldn’t see what Deanna saw about the future and still couldn’t see it for a long, long time even throughout all of this and the battle he was hell-bent on vengeance.”

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Andrew Lincoln out and about
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 22: Actor Andrew Lincoln attends the 100th episode celebration off 'The Walking Dead' at The Greek Theatre on October 22, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 22: Actor Andrew Lincoln attends the 100th episode celebration off 'The Walking Dead' at The Greek Theatre on October 22, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 10: Scott M. Gimple, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Andrew Lincoln and Lennie James of 'The Walking Dead' attend 'The Walking Dead' event at Smithsonian National Museum Of American History on October 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for AMC)
THE THEATER AT MADISON SQUARE GA, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2017/10/07: Andrew Lincoln attends The Walking Dead panel at The Theater at Madison Square Garden during Comic Con 2017. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 07:(L-R) Greg Nicotero, Chris Hardwick, Norman Reedus, Gale Ann Hurd, David Alpert, Robert Kirkman, Melissa McBride, Tom Payne, Katelyn Nacon, Andrew Lincoln, Lennie James, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Austin Amelio attend the Comic Con The Walking Dead panel at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on October 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for AMC)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 07: Actors Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lennie James, Melissa McBride, Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus attend the SiriusXM 'Town Hall' with the Cast of The Walking Dead; Town Hall to Air On SiriusXM's Entertainment Weekly Radio on October 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 21: Actor Andrew Lincoln speaks onstage at Comic-Con International 2017 AMC's 'The Walking Dead' panel at San Diego Convention Center on July 21, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 17: Actor Andrew Lincoln at The Paley Center For Media's 34th Annual PaleyFest Los Angeles - Opening Night Presentation: 'The Walking Dead' held at Dolby Theatre on March 17, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 17: (L-R) Executive producer Greg Nicotero and actors Andrew Lincoln and Melissa McBride appear on stage at The Paley Center for Media's 34th Annual PaleyFest Los Angeles opening night presentation of 'The Walking Dead' at Dolby Theatre on March 17, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
Andrew Lincoln attends the "The walking dead photocall" fan event at Capitol Cinema in Madrid on March 9, 2017 (Photo by Gabriel Maseda/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 23: Andrew Lincoln is seen arriving at AMC 'Talking Dead Live' for the premiere of 'The Walking Dead' at the Hollywood Forever on October 23, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 23: Actor Andrew Lincoln attends AMC presents 'Talking Dead Live' for the premiere of 'The Walking Dead' at Hollywood Forever on October 23, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for AMC)
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He added: “And now you will meet and find a man — depending on how much time after the events that we just witnessed — that has changed, radically, in ideas and purpose.”

This isn’t the only change coming to the show – Lauren Cohan, who portrays Maggie Rhee, will only appear in six of the first eight episodes, Deadline reported. She also booked the lead in ABC’s action-drama Whiskey Cavalier, opposite Scott Foley, so she will be splitting her time between Los Angeles and Atlanta.

She confirmed she’d be back on the AMC drama in April, telling EW, “I’m going back. There’s a lot more Maggie story to tell … You know, we’re not allowed to tell you anything, but it’s good.”

The Walking Dead will return to AMC Sundays in the fall.

AMC did not immediately respond to Us Weekly’s request for comment. Collider was the first to report Lincoln’s departure.

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