The Walking Dead has reached an age where AMC must naturally consider an endpoint, or at least where stars might jump ship. Even Rick might leave this world behind at some point, and both Andrew Lincoln and showrunners are already considering the possibility.

Keep in mind that The Walking Dead made a big leap to sugest Rick Grimes would be sticking around awhile, but eight seasons has already well-surpassed AMC’s longest series. And while the comics may not have said goodbye to The Walking Dead’s leading man just yet, Andrew Lincoln tells Entertainment Weekly the series is build to outlive Rick:

There is a completion thing that I think I deserve for doing it for so long. And also probably the audience would like some completion … There’s only so many ways you can bend and stretch this and that. I’m not saying that the show would ever finish, but I certainly think that there’s an opportunity for the show to change at some point, and I think it should. […]

It’s beautifully set up for [Carl to take Rick's place] — 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?

For their parts, both showrunner Scott Gimple and creator Robert Kirkman agreed that Rick shouldn’t be immune to life-and-death turnover among the cast, though Kirkman added “I don’t think we have to worry about that any time soon.” Whether Lincoln is willing to spend as much time with the character as Kirkman remains to be seen, but the actor has also spoken to a potential ending for Rick that coincides with the end of the series.

We’ll see how the cast changes when The Walking Dead returns for Season 8 on October 22, but who might say goodbye sooner than their comic counterpart?

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