The actor, who has played Rick Grimes since the first episode, is set to exit the AMC series next season, according to Collider. His exit would come after the show's surprising -- and controversial -- decision to kill off his character's son, Carl, in Season 8.
According to the report, "fans can only expect to see Lincoln in half-a-dozen episodes of the upcoming season." AMC has also apparently "offered substantial compensation" to co-star Norman Reedus to stay on board and take over "the show's leading role."
When asked in December about whether he saw "an end in sight" for his time on the show, Lincoln told THR: "Yeah, I think so. I've said to you before and I really feel that the fans — and also for my own satisfaction — that there deserves to be an end point. There needs to be an end game and that is something that is definitely being talked about. I can't get into all of that. But all of that will be answered. As I've said to you before — and I will continue to say — my relationship with Rick Grimes is far from over."
When the reporter asked if Lincoln saw an end coming "sooner, rather than later," he added, "That's a question I'm not at liberty to answer. It's such an extraordinary story and in my heart, it deserves some resolution."
Costar Lauren Cohan (AKA Maggie) also recently signed on for only six of the first eight episodes of the ninth season, after a contract negotiation with AMC.
The finale set up a showdown between Cohan and Lincoln's characters -- with this news, will either of them make it out alive?