AMC announced during the San Diego Comic-Con Friday that Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) will be making his return to the zombie apocalypse universe; but in a movie, instead of the network’s long-standing series.
The announcement followed a short and bleak teaser for the upcoming movie featuring a helicopter flying at the brink of looming dusk over a city skyline. The video ended with the words “The Walking Dead” and “Rick Grimes Returns: Only in Theaters.”
The films were first announced in late 2018 following Andrew Lincoln’s departure from the flagship AMC series, on which Lincoln played the role of Grimes since the pilot.
The last we’ve seen of Grimes was halfway through the most recent Season 9 when he was bleeding and heavily decapitated aboard a helicopter that was headed to an unknown location. Although it was evident throughout his last episode that he was determined to get back to his family in Alexandria, referring not just to lifelong love Michonne and last surviving child Judith, but also his friends and comrades.
The series jumped six years after Grimes’ last appearance, and it seems apparent that the zombie slayer still has not made his way back home.
With AMC’s The Walking Dead universe chief content officer Scott Gimple already announcing a trilogy of movies, and Lincoln recently signing on the first movie, fans are expecting that it will bring a more conclusive end to this sheriff’s story in the universe.
Lincoln stated in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that The Walking Dead movies would “complete” Rick Grimes’ story in the zombie apocalypse, suggesting they could mark the character’s final appearance once and for all.
Furthermore, Gimple noted that the movies would embark on the story following after The Walking Dead 9×05—Grimes’ last episode in the series—as he is also tasked of penning the storyline.
What remains unclear, however, is in what timeline does the movie coincide, especially with the 6-year leap that the series took. Some fans predict that the trilogy will tell the story of that gap, while some speculate that it will be way after the current timeline because of Grimes’ absence in the series.
“We’re going to tell the story of what happens after that helicopter flight, and these are going to be big epic entertainments,” Gimple said.
Furthermore, the question of whether the movie will take place is also heavily speculated, with some outlets saying Philadelphia because of the stark similarity of the city’s skyline with the one featured in the trailer.
“[Rick is] flying off in a helicopter, away from Virginia, and it’s going to be a new world — a very new situation with its history, and very, very different from what we’ve seen before,” was all Gimple had to say to EW regarding the topic.
What is for sure as of the moment is that AMC and Universal Pictures are developing the films but an official title for Rick’s return and an official release date has yet to be revealed.
AMC initially planned to begin production as early as 2019, but it is unclear if that is still the case. Recent comments from Lincoln from The New York Times suggest that they will be releasing the first movie as early as next year, in 2020.
Meanwhile, The Walking Dead season 10 is due to begin airing this October, and the sister series “Fear the Walking Dead,” was picked up for a sixth season on Friday.
Additionally, the comics, which the series was based and has recently concluded, shows signs that AMC is not planning on stopping. The network announced a third and untitled series that will tell the story of the first generation of kids to grow up during the zombie apocalypse.
Lincoln’s exit was a major blow for The Walking Dead, with Danai Gurira confirming her exit from the series in Season 10, as well. Currently, Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride are now the longest-serving cast members on the popular series.
Regarding the fate of the upcoming movie, there could be two scenarios: the movie will help boost back viewership for the TV series or that it will flop due to the declining number of fans of the show, which seemed evident since season 6.