Andrew Lincoln may be bidding farewell to The Walking Dead on the small screen tonight, but this won’t be the last we see of Rick Grimes, as AMC orders a run of movies featuring the former Sheriff.
Lincoln’s Grimes has been the mainstay of the smash hit zombie franchise, anchoring the escalating violence (both from the undead and the humans fighting them off) with a grounded, sympathetic presence. The news that he would depart the show in Season 9, then, was big news, as AMC prepares for the series to continue without him. But Lincoln won’t be flying far from the nest: he’s already committed to reprise his role on the big screen, with a series of AMC Studios Original Films set to continue the story of Rick Grimes.
How exactly they will continue his story isn’t yet clear, as Rick’s final outing hasn’t been broadcast in the UK yet, although possibilities such as prequels or stories set between seasons, a la Star Wars, are certainly possible – as are movies entirely retconning what happens in the series to form a new canon.
The movies are the first projects in development from Chief Content Officer Scott M. Gimple, as he plans to expand The Walking Dead Universe. Other projects currently in development include additional films, specials, series, digital content and more. Some of the stories will relate to The Walking Dead as fans know it while others will be standalone stories that break into new creative territory.
Written by Gimple, the first film is expected to begin production as early as 2019.
“We have a lot on the horizon – starting with a new epic featuring one of the greatest leading actors in television history and one of the best people I’ve ever met,” says Gimple. “These films are going to be big evolutions of what we’ve been doing on the show, with the scope and scale of features.”
“There is much more on the way, featuring yet-unseen worlds of The Walking Dead and faces from the show’s past, as well as new characters we hope to become favourites, told by TWD veterans and emerging voices,” he continues. “We want to break new ground with different, distinct stories, all part of the same world that’s captured our imagination for nearly a decade of the Dead.”
“We believe this is a world and narrative with many possibilities and opportunities for character development and we’re excited to expand the series into a franchise that can live across multiple formats,” adds David Madden, president of original programming for AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios. “For many years, fans have talked about things in the apocalypse they want to see and now we have an opportunity to explore those stories.”
Still catching up with The Walking Dead the TV show? Here’s our guide to where you can watch it online in the UK.