When the news broke that series lead Andrew Lincoln would be departing from The Walking Dead in season nine, viewers were in uproar.
Completely devastated to lose the only remaining original character from the hugely-popular zombie show, many fans declared they wouldn’t even watch, despite reports favourite Daryl Dixon (played by Norman Reedus) was being lined up to fill Rick Grimes’ enormous shoes.
Now Chandler, who played Rick’s now deceased son Carl on the cult hit, has broken his silence on the monumental shift for the show’s future.
Speaking about his shock at his long-time co-star’s decision, Chandler insisted it made sense.
He told Good Morning Sacramento: “Andy has been on the show for so long and he’s had to leave his family every single year.”
Chandler went on to say the English Love Actually actor is looking forward to moving back home after nearly a decade in Atlanta, Georgia in the US.
“I was surprised,” he continued. “But at the same time, it’s going to be good for him to get back to his family and raise his kids.”
The Carl Grimes star was subject to a media furore when he made his own exit from the show in season eight.
When viewers watched the teenage character reveal his zombie bite in the midseason finale, they quickly learned the storyline was reportedly not his own choice and one made by former showrunner Scott Gimple.
Speculation about Carl’s “miraculous recovery” continued for weeks until the show finally revealed his tragic fate in episode nine, which said goodbye to the series’ long-running cast-member.
As the talked-about season finally drew to a close, bosses then began revealing the decision behind Carl’s death.
Comic book fans were more stunned than anyone to hear the news as Carl is primed to take over his dad’s leadership of the Alexandrians in Robert Kirkman’s graphic novels, meaning when Rick finally dies someone is ready to take his place.
But in the show, Scott confessed his reasons for removing Carl from the equation were down to giving Rick an entire new motivation going forward, including how he dealt with evil villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
Therefore it doesn’t make sense that producers would have chosen to kill off their lead star after already sending off the younger Grimes, and it’s likely Andrew chose to leave himself.
What’s more, the show could be facing another important exit from actress Lauren Cohan, who plays soon-to-be mother Maggie Rhee.
Lauren is confirmed to appear in the series’ ninth offering, but only in six episodes.
The 36-year-old’s new pilot for ABC Whiskey Cavalier has also been green-lit, meaning she could easily make a transition from one show to the next half way through.
But will Daryl be able to carry the series without the Grimes men holding down the fort?
Meanwhile, executive producer Scott recently revealed he and the comics’ creator Robert have argued about some of the storyline’s choices.
Speaking at an AMC panel, Scott shared: “Back when we started, Robert and I argued a lot because I wanted to do the book just as the book and he actually wanted to do changes because he had already done it.
“And, yeah, I wanted to see those moments that I saw in the book.”
The Walking Dead season 9 is expected to return to AMC and FOX in the UK later this year.