Andrew Lincoln Could Return to 'The Walking Dead' as Director

Andrew Lincoln may be parting ways with his onscreen counterpart Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead's ninth season, but he is not ready to completely sever ties with the show. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, the actor revealed that he may be headed back to Georgia to direct an episode of season 10.

"I'm going back," Lincoln revealed. "I'm going back to shadow a director, and my intention is to direct next year."

Lincoln, who has portrayed lead character Rick Grimes since the series' pilot, is set to make his exit from The Walking Dead sometime this season, officially hanging up the sheriff's hat in order to spend more time with his family in England.

"I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older," Lincoln said of his reasoning behind his departure. "It was that simple. It was time for me to come home."

Lincoln had made the news of his departure official at San Diego Comic Con in July.

"This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes," Lincoln confirmed. "I love this show, it means everything to me. I love the people that make this show. I am particularly fond of the people that watch this show. This has been the most extraordinary, amazing and beautiful experience of my career, made possible largely by you guys. In this room and rooms across the world...What I wanted to say is my relationship with Mr. Grimes is far from over, and some part of me will always be machete-wielding sheriff's deputy from London, England. This will continue to be an ensemble show."

Despite making his exit to spend more time with his family, Lincoln told EW that his decision to return to Georgia so soon after he left in order to direct stems from him not being entirely ready to part ways.

"I can't be that far away because I can't bear it," he said. "That's how much I am invested in the show and the continuation of the story."

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Should Lincoln make his directorial debut on The Walking Dead, he will be the third actor in the franchise to take a turn in the director's chair. Recently, Fear The Walking Dead's Colman Domingo, who portrays Victor Strand on the sister series, helmed season four's 12th episode, "Weak." Michael Cudlitz, whose character Abraham Ford met a grisly end in season seven, returned to The Walking Dead to direct episode seven of season nine.

The Walking Dead season nine premieres Sunday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. ET.