'The Walking Dead' has been going through some major changes as of late, both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes. The latest news however came as a shock to all viewers, as it was revealed Andrew Lincoln would only be appearing in half of season 9, before bowing out of the series altogether and retiring from the role of Rick Grimes.

Andrew Lincoln's time on 'The Walking Dead' is coming to an endAndrew Lincoln's time on 'The Walking Dead' is coming to an end

Rick has for eight seasons to-date led 'The Walking Dead', bringing together a group of survivors in the zombie apocalypse and doing his all to keep them aligned. Going up against a number of different threats and villains, his most recent exchange came with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who he finally brought to his knees in the show's eighth season finale.

Now though, it would seem Lincoln's ready to say goodbye to the show that has made him a household name in America. Many wonder just what shape the series will take when he's gone, but one of the regular directors on the show, Michael Satrazemis, doesn't think we should be too alarmed.

Taking to his Instagram account, the director said (via Reddit): ""Many of us have spent the last 8 yrs of our lives living, working, creating, high giving, hugging and sometimes even bleeding real blood with Andy. All to make something special. He is one of the greatest men I've ever met. And a friend. The show will miss him as much as you. It will be different but it will still be great. All of us who love making TWD keep creating our asses off and sometimes even bleed for you.""

It's great to see the respect Satrazemis has for Lincoln, and whilst he acknowledges the loss of him from the series will be one that stuns audiences, he also hints at the fact 'The Walking Dead' is a true ensemble show, with many different actors picking up the slack at one time or another. 

It would be unfair on the cast to say the series would come tumbling down following Lincoln's exit, and in fact, that refreshing type of move may be one necessary to see recently dwindling ratings be brought back up.

More: 'The Walking Dead' May "Dig Deeper" Into Negan's Past

'The Walking Dead' is expected to return to screens later this year for the season 9 premiere, on AMC in the US and FOX in the UK.