Andrew Lincoln’s departure from The Walking Dead next week has been called a “giant season finale in the middle of the season”.
The British actor had already confirmed that he was leaving the show after eight years but it was not known how or when.
Now AMC have teased ahead to episode five of season nine, in which his character Rick Grimes will be seen for the final time.
Grimes is a sheriff’s deputy who awoke from a coma in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. He becomes the leader of a group who are forced to relentlessly fight off flesh-eating zombies and hostile humans.
Showrunner Angela Kang told The Hollywood Reporter that the character’s departure “feels like a giant season finale dropped in the middle of the season.”
The episode, called What Comes After, will air on 4 November. It follows Sunday’s episode, which saw Grimes impaled on a spike and left facing dozens of walkers.
Kang would not reveal much about the episode, but said: “There’s an emotional story to it. There’s also a lot of adventure, action, heroism and some pretty big twists.
“I’m excited for that. I think there’s going to be some things that are unexpected for the viewers. It’s pulse-pounding and epic.”
Speaking at Comic-Con in the summer Lincoln said: “I love this show. It means everything to me. I love the people who make this show. I promise not to cry – I’ve done enough crying on screen.”
He also urged fans to stick with the show even once he is gone: “This has always been an ensemble, and it will continue to be an ensemble.
“No one is bigger than the story, and the story this year is unbelievable.”
There has been concern from fans about Lincoln leaving the series but producers could leave the door open for the star to return in the future.
Kang told The Hollywood Reporter: “We obviously care so much about this character and so much about this actor.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to let [Lincoln] live his life and pay tribute to his legacy on the show.
“I’ll say that many discussions happened back-and-forth, and they went different ways. Andy had been thinking about this for a while, too.”