Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Rick Grimes Fires His Gun in The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 16: “A”

We miss Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) when he’s gone. Thankfully, when he returns in The Walking Dead Season 5, he’ll be sticking around.

Everyone had to trade-off some scenes in Season 4, especially in the second half, but there were two mostly Rick-free episodes in the first half and three in a row in the second half, with Episode 15 following the dry spell with just one brief Rick scene. This is not OK. Rick may not be everyone’s favorite character, but he’s still the main character. Captain of the ship. Leader of the pack, etc. We’ve been following his story from Day One and hopefully to the end of days.

Thankfully, Rick is back in focus in AMC’s beautiful new “Survive” poster, and showrunner Scott Gimple told Entertainment Weekly Season 5 won’t hide Papa Grimes from us as much as Season 4 did.

Scott praised AMC and “the most incredibly generous actor I have ever met in my entire life, Mr. Andy Lincoln” for letting them try such an unusual structure in the second half of Season 4. However, he added, “This show reinvents itself every eight episodes. And I love that about it. It is an incredible challenge as we are doing a new television program every eight episodes. But that was an awesome TV show and I loved that TV show and now that TV show is going to be very different.”

Scott noted that there will still “be some times where you don’t see Rick Grimes,” since the show has a big ensemble cast. “But I told Andy for this half-season, chill out, play some golf, hang out with your family, because Season 5 there is going to be a whole lot of Rick Grimes and you are not going to be lying unconscious on a couch for any of those episodes.” Yes!

“So that was an unusual thing, but we all had a pretty good idea for our structure of Season 5 back when we were starting Season 4,” Scott continued. “I’m not saying I had everything completely locked down. But I knew generally what the structure for Season 5 was going to be. And I knew that we could do a chapter of this story where we didn’t see quite as much Rick, to feature the other characters, focus on the other characters, build a relationship with those other characters. So when we see all these people together, we know who those people are even if they don’t get a whole lot of screen time in an episode.”

Andy talked to Entertainment Weekly about getting so much time off in the second half of Season 4. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the writers,” he quipped. “My handicap dropped seven points! And I won quite a lot of money off of David Morrissey and Scott Gimple on the golf course! Initially it was quite a tiring job, but then it was too long and I missed doing it and I missed working and I missed being on set and I missed being present on set and I missed the crew. So initially it was great but then I started to go a bit stir crazy. So my wife kicked me out and said ‘Just go on set. Just hang around.’ I get twitchy when I don’t work. So it was nice initially, but I think it was a little too much time off for my taste.”

Well, we’re happy to hear he’ll be back in true Rick form. The cast and crew should be returning to Georgia pretty soon to start filming the new season, which will premiere in October. And if Andy’s wife ever kicks him out again, he can always come hang out with us. Just saying!

Are you happy Season 5 will feature more Rick? Vote below!

The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October 2014 on AMC.

Sources: Entertainment Weekly, Entertainment Weekly