The Walking Dead fans have been dreading the premiere of the fifth episode of season 9, "What Comes After," as it officially marked the end of Andrew Lincoln's run as Rick Grimes on AMC's hit zombie series. While many feared that the beloved character would meet his end in his final episode, fans were surprised to learn on Sunday night that Lincoln will in fact return as Rick for a The Walking Dead movie. Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming project.
The Walking Dead movie plot
As fans saw in "What Comes After," Rick is still alive, albeit barely, after being rescued by Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh). Although his pals think he's dead, Rick has actually been transported via helicopter to a mysterious new community that's been on the hunt for folks they dub type A or B. Chief content officer Scott M. Gimple revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that The Walking Dead movie will take place in the aftermath of these events, as well as explore the time-jump featured in Rick's final episode.
Surprisingly, Lincoln isn't just starring in one The Walking Dead movie. According to Gimple, the plan is to create three TV films for AMC centered around Rick.
"It is about who he is and who he's going to be — and certainly how he deals with the situation he's in," Gimple told The Hollywood Reporter. "We know Rick Grimes, he would want to be home."
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The Walking Dead movie will be the first of a slew of other projects set in the zombie-filled universe, as Gimple told Entertainment Weekly that the hope is to explore new corners with characters past, present and future.
"We’re doing films, we’re doing specials. We’re going to be looking at new series. And even just different expressions of series — not necessarily 16 episodes. We might be doing some mini-series," Gimple told Entertainment Weekly. "We’re looking at different ways to tell stories. It’s very important that these be distinct from the other two shows or they really won’t be worth doing. We want to answer questions that the audience had all along. We want to see just different parts of the world. We really want to expand out the breadth of what The Walking Dead can be."
Gimple revealed to Entertainment Weekly that a The Walking Dead movie centered around Lauren Cohan's Maggie (who's set to leave the series in season 9 as well) is "absolutely a possibility" too.
The Walking Dead movie cast
As of now Lincoln's Rick and McIntosh's Jadis are the only characters confirmed for the movie so far. However, The Hollwood Reporter notes that other characters from the hit series may pop up in the film or the other spin-off projects as well, including Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl (Norma Reedus).
For now, though, the focus is on Rick.
"We are talking about a trilogy for this Rick Grimes story," Gimple told Entertainment Weekly. "It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the only Rick Grimes stories we’re ever going to tell, and also they’re probably not going to be the only movies that we tell."
The Walking Dead movie release date
As of now, there isn't an official release date yet for the first The Walking Dead movie, however, Gimple told Entertainment Weekly that production will likely start filming next year and it will hit airwaves "sooner than later." Gimple noted, though, that the film will be produced on a "feature schedules" as opposed to "teleivision schedules," meaning "they're going to be big, so they're going to take a minute to make."
The Walking Dead movie trailer
Since filming hasn't started yet, a trailer for the first film hasn't been released yet, but check back as we'll keep updating this page as more infomation becomes available. For now, enjoy this spoiler-filled clip from Rick's last episode.