It sounds like Andrew Lincoln won't be gone from The Walking Dead for all that long. Rick Grimes has been the lead character on the AMC's hit zombie series since the very beginning, but after nearly a decade, Lincoln is getting ready to hang it up and, during the events of season 9, the actor is going to depart the series. How that will happen or precisely when that will happen remains to be seen, but it's happening. However, Lincoln, in a recent interview, revealed he's planning to return in season 10, as a director.

With The Walking Dead season 9 premiere just around the corner, all eyes are on Andrew Lincoln as his time with the show is coming to an end. At least in front of the camera. Even though the actor feels he needed to step away as the series lead in order to spend more time with his family, that doesn't mean he wants to bail on the show entirely. Here's what he had to say about his future plans.

"I'm going back. I'm going back to shadow a director, and my intention is to direct next year."

This won't be the first time that an actor has stepped behind the camera to direct. Fear the Walking Dead star Colman Domingo, who viewers know as Strand, recently helmed the episode Weak of the spin-off series. Michael Cudlitz, who fans of The Walking Dead know as Abraham, returned, stepped in to direct this season 9's seventh episode, titled Stradivarius. That episode is scheduled to air on November 18. Andrew Lincoln, should things go according to plan, will be the third actor from the shows to make the transition.

It's a move that makes a great deal of sense for all involved. As much as Andrew Lincoln may be ready to move on with his career, The Walking Dead still means a great deal to him and this is a way for him to still remain involved in a less demanding way. From AMC's perspective, few people understand the series better than Lincoln, so why not have him step behind the camera? Lincoln also added that he simply can't stay away for that long.

Related: Lauren Cohan Returns as Maggie for The Walking Dead Season 11

"I can't be that far away because I can't bear it. That's how much I am invested in the show and the continuation of the story."

Even though the series has suffered a decline in ratings over the past couple of seasons, AMC has no intention of ending The Walking Dead any time soon. In fact, it was recently revealed that they have plans extending for the next decade. So, if Andrew Lincoln takes to his directing gig next season, he'll have an awful lot of opportunity to do it again in the future. The Walking Dead season 9 premieres on Sunday, October 7. This news was first reported by Entertainment Weekly.

Ryan Scott