The Walking Dead: AMC made the right decision with Rick Grimes

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC /

AMC executives talk about why they made the decision to let fans know that Rick Grimes’ days on The Walking Dead were numbered, and it makes sense.

The Walking Dead went through a lot of changes in season 9, most notably with the departure of Andrew Lincoln. The loss of the actor who played the main character was something that had been reported in the spring, followed by confirmation in the summer and then it played out when the show returned in October. AMC executives discussed their reasoning for marketing season 9 as the final Rick Grimes episodes, and it makes a lot of sense.

Back in November, AMC President of Programming David Madden talked to the New York Times about the decision to let fans know that Rick Grimes was leaving the show: “If you were a fan of the show we wanted you to know this was your opportunity to see, live, his departure from the series. We wanted to honor that moment, and then at the same time tell people what would come next.”

The network was trying to give fans enough time to come to terms with Lincoln’s departure, and even with that much notice the loss of Rick Grimes has been a bitter pill to swallow. Fortunately, Rick isn’t dead and we’ll see him again in AMC’s feature films. Even so, knowing his departure was coming was nerve wracking to say the least.

In fairness, AMC could have kept Rick’s departure a secret, and it would have played out much to the shock of fans. That wouldn’t have gone over well. It was smart to announce the final episodes and then leave his fate open until the moment it was revealed that he didn’t die. From the look of his injuries, it looked like his fate was sealed and so seeing him carted away on the helicopter was a huge surprise.

With the prevalence of spoilers on the internet, AMC knew that it would be challenging to keep a secret this big. It would have been equally challenging to explain why Lincoln wasn’t back in Atlanta when filming for 9B started.

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In the end, AMC made the right decision. It was going to be hard either way, but the final decision allowed fans to have a chance to prepare for the big goodbye.