Andrew Lincoln, 41, is reprising his role as Rick Grimes, the leading man in AMC’s The Walking Dead, the fifth season of which premieres on Oct. 12. The show, which sees bands of frazzled survivors trying to navigate a zombie-laden apocalypse, has grown progressively darker (and more popular) over the past few years. A lightly edited interview with Lincoln follows.
TIME: When you showed up to the show’s premiere without a beard, fans freaked about what it could mean for this season’s plot. How do you feel about being the man whose facial hair can launch a thousand blogs?
Andrew Lincoln: I think I was quite clear on the red carpet that it’s one of three things: It’s either an extended flashback, I found a razor or I’m dead. I always knew that this season we were gonna need a bigger beard, but I had no idea the sort of…
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