Why did Rick leave The Walking Dead?

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 /

Fans of the long-running apocalyptic series The Walking Dead believe different events led to the series’s downfall, which it never fully recovered from. One of those instances was when Rick Grimes, portrayed by Andrew Lincoln since the pilot episode in 2010, left the series. While Rick left Alexandria, not of his own will, Lincoln, on the other hand, chose to depart the series, and for good reason.

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Danai Gurira and Andrew Lincoln (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) /

When it was announced that Andrew Lincoln would be leaving The Walking Dead series, fans were understandably disappointed. Lincoln gave life to the character Rick Grimes who was initially created for the comic story by Robert Kirkman. Lincoln sighted that he felt it was time that he spent more time with his family who lived in the UK, and any parent could understand his reasoning.

This didn’t make his departure any easier, and it was a sad time in Walking Dead history leading up to Lincoln’s final episode in season 9.

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The Walking Dead – Rick Grimes leaves

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Andrew Lincoln Danai Gurira as Michonne Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC /

Now, Lincoln had a very good and personal reason for leaving, but Rick, his story is much different. In the season 9 episode “What Comes After,” Rick, being the hero that he is, sacrifices himself by blowing up a bridge filled with walkers to save those he loves. Michonne (Danai Gurira), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride), and the others watch in horror, believing that Rick had died.

But viewers of the episode are privy to the fact that Rick was blown clear, and while severely injured, he was very much alive. Jadis/Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) convinced the rescue helicopter operated by the CRM (Civic Republic Military) to rescue Rick and herself carrying them away.

It was always assumed that they both arrived safely at the CR (Civic Republic), but it wasn’t certain until The Walking Dead: World Beyond when Warrant Officer Jadis Stokes appeared in this spinoff series, confirming that she used Rick as her ticket for admission into this group. She would then work her way up to her position, but nothing else was mentioned about Rick.

The Walking Dead series finale episode gave fans a surprise bonus coda scene filling in some of the gaps of what has transpired with Rick and Michonne since these characters left the series. The CRM took Rick in as a captive and did escape. It appears that is important to them because when they finally caught back up to him, the CRM didn’t shoot him on-site, which is their MO.

Now, Rick and Michonne’s stories will be continued in a spinoff of their own that will release on AMC and AMC+ in 2024. This series will be six episodes long and will see the couple’s reunion and likely fill in more information about what occurred while they were apart.

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