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The Walking Dead Showrunner Had Someone Different In Mind For Rick Grimes Originally

It's undeniable that the face of the "Walking Dead" franchise is Rick Grimes, as portrayed by Andrew Lincoln. He's the show's lead character for the bulk of its run and is among its most popular, alongside the likes of Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan). Arguably the main reason for Rick's immense popularity and television icon status is Lincoln's approach to the character throughout the series. He nails every performance, but when the program was in its infancy, one of the minds behind it had a different actor in mind for the part.

Way back when "The Walking Dead" was preparing to make it to TV, one of its biggest creative forces, Frank Darabont, tried pitching the series to HBO. Evidently, HBO passed on the title, and Darabont never got his first choice to play Rick: Thomas Jane. Yes, the "The Punisher" and "The Mist" (another Darabont project) actor could've portrayed the zombie-killing former sheriff, but his schedule didn't leave room for it. He was committed to the HBO series "Hung" at the time "The Walking Dead" began filming at AMC, so the role ultimately landed in the lap of Lincoln (via Uproxx).

By signing the dotted line to lead "The Walking Dead," Lincoln wound up with a lengthy tenure on the show, and even though it has concluded, his time as Rick isn't over yet.

Even though he wasn't the first choice, Andrew Lincoln still isn't done as Rick Grimes

"The Walking Dead" ran from 2010 to 2022, amassing 11 seasons and nearly 180 episodes in the process. During that remarkable TV run, Andrew Lincoln brings Rick Grimes to life in 120 of those installments. He finally departed the program as a regular in Season 9, with Rick's fate left ambiguous as he's carried away by a mysterious helicopter with serious wounds in need of treatment. Thanks to the Season 11 finale, "Rest in Peace," though, we know he's still alive and desperate to reunite with his found family — chiefly Michonne (Danai Gurira).

Even though he's already gone through a respectable tenure as Rick, it turns out that Lincoln isn't done with the character just yet. The Season 11 cliffhanger actually sets up a miniseries dedicated to Rick and Michonne as they go on a likely difficult and perilous search for one another. The show aims to reach the airwaves in 2024 — 14 years after the premiere of "The Walking Dead" — replacing the long-delayed Rick-centric film. One has to wonder, if he'd taken on the part, would Thomas Jane have been willing to stick with Rick for this long?

At any rate, while it's fun to imagine how Jane would've approached the Rick role, it's hard to deny that Lincoln was born for it.