While The Walking Dead has always been centred on Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes since it started way back in 2010, it's beginning to sound like he's not all that indispensable to the show's future.
Even with the show's notorious blood-lust, it always seemed that Rick was untouchable: he might go through Hell several times and have to endure the absolutely unthinkable, but as the leader of the survivors, he was surely covered in impenetrable plot armour.
Not so. And both Lincoln and producer Robert Kirkman want you to know that they think the show could even continue without him. Which probably means you need to start worrying about his well-being.
EW have published an interview with Lincoln, who spoke about the opportunity to kill off Rick and potentially swap focus over to his son Carl:
“Absolutely. It’s beautifully set up for that – for the camera to be certainly his story, and then it just shifts off. If ever there was a landscape or an environment to do that, it’s our show. But whether or not that’s this season… well, you have to find out, don’t you?”
Kirkman also says it's possible to continue without Grimes:
“I think it could. [Andrew Lincoln] is the leader of this show and his dedication to the show is absolutely inspiring. Everyone just looks up to him and he’s a huge part of this show. But we have a very strong ensemble, and there’s a lot of characters that could carry the show. The Walking Dead is a story very much about a world and a bunch of people inhabiting that world.”
Luckily for fans of the Sheriff, Kirkman also says we probably don't “have to worry about that anytime soon” while The Walking Dead's show-runner Scott M. Gimple says there'd have to be a new overarching narrative in place before killing him off, which wouldn't come until the 20th or 30th season. And we might not even get that far.