The Walking Dead universe is expanding, and it’s possible that Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes is just the first of several characters to leave the AMC series behind for the franchise’s upcoming movies. Before Season 9 premiered, fans knew that Andrew Lincoln would be saying goodbye. This quickly sparked speculation over whether his character, Rick Grimes, was about to die. However, not only did Rick (improbably?) survive his final episode, but as soon as it aired, we learned about a trilogy of upcoming movies that will continue his story.
The only problem? We still know very little about these upcoming Walking Dead Rick Grimes movies, though production on the first film is expected to start this year. In the meantime, here’s everything we do know about these films, including casting (and who else from the TV series could be joining him), possible release dates, and where you’ll be able to watch them at launch.
How Did The Walking Dead Season 9 Set up the Movies?
After being impaled on rebar, Rick spent his final episode bleeding on his way home while managing to stay just in front of a herd of walkers. Then, to take out those walkers, he blew up a bridge while he was still on it. His friends and family members saw the explosion and assumed it killed him along with the walkers.
They were wrong. Instead, Anne found him, severely injured, but somehow still alive. She was supposed to deliver an “A” to the people in the helicopter, but she convinced them to take Rick, a “B,” and save him. They flew off to an unknown location in the helicopter.
After that, the series jumped forward six years. Everyone Rick left behind still thinks he’s dead. They’ve moved on (some better than others) with new threats to face and new issues to deal with.
Daryl did try to find Rick’s body after, but he was (obviously) unsuccessful.
When Will the Rick Grimes Movies Be Released?
We don’t know, but production is set to begin “as early as 2019,” according to AMC’s initial press release.
With each movie set to take about two months to produce, according to The Hollywood Reporter, we should hopefully hear something soon. We might even see the first Rick Grimes film released by the end of the year.
Where Will You Be Able to Watch the Movies?
According to comics publisher Skybound’s Fan Mailbag, “the plan is to air the films on AMC.” So as long as you have a cable subscription or some other way to access the network, you’ll be fine.
If this changes, or AMC announces plans to premiere the Walking Dead movie in theaters, we’ll let you know.
When Will a Trailer Be Released?
We don’t know. First, they have to begin production, so we may have a better idea once that happens.
However, it is possible that AMC could release a teaser before the trailer that doesn’t include any new footage to get fans excited about what’s coming for Rick Grimes. We might also get a brief behind-the-scenes teaser from on set.
What’s the Plot?
“The first film will explore the story of where Rick is taken and what he faces in a new corner of the zombie apocalypse,” according to AMC.
“We’re starting with the first part of the continuing story of Rick Grimes, and 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 favorites, told by TWD veterans and emerging voices,” Chief Content Officer Scott M. Gimple said in a statement.
Specifically, the movies will explore other facets of the apocalypse that we haven’t seen yet in The Walking Dead through these movies.
“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, beginning with the character who started it all, Rick Grimes,” president of original programming for AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios David Madden said.
Following his last episode, Lincoln offered a bit more information in a November episode of Talking Dead.
“It’s not the beginning of the end, it’s the end of the beginning. And I like the idea that we get to tell a bigger story, maybe with a sort of wider vista. I’ve always been interested in what’s going on out there, you know, whether or not there is contact with the wider world. I want to know the meta of it all. And I suppose to be able to kind of touch upon that in a contained story for me is a very exciting proposition … Maybe it’s the start of a bigger story.”
The series teased something mysterious going on with the helicopter with the “A” on it and Anne’s communication with those on board. However, it never answered any of the questions we had, including what the letters “A” and “B” actually mean.
“There will definitely be more of an understanding of the community that they came from and that I’m going to with them,” Pollyanna McIntosh, who plays Anne, said at Walker Stalker Con San Jose in 2018, according to Fan Fest News.
Who Will Be in the Movie Cast?
We know that Lincoln will be part of the movies. Considering how his story ended and what the first film will explore, it’s very likely that McIntosh will be involved as well.
“It’s being spoken about by Gimple now so I can be very clear in assuming,” McIntosh said at the Walker Stalker Con panel. “We’re going to see where Rick is, so she would be there.”
Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne, is set to exit The Walking Dead in Season 10 and could then move over to the movies, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
If she does, what would that mean for the kids? Judith has already been establishing herself as independent of her mother, making decisions when it comes to Negan on her own, and she could stay behind in Alexandria and on the show to continue the Grimes legacy on The Walking Dead. But what about Michonne and Rick’s son R.J.? That could go either way; he could either stay behind or Michonne could take him with her, depending on how she exits the series.
There has now even been talk about Lauren Cohan’s Maggie appearing in the movies. Maggie’s last episode was also Rick’s (though no one knew it at the time), and Cohan is now starring in the new ABC series Whiskey Cavalier. However, Maggie’s story was left open-ended (she joined Georgie’s group with baby Hershel), and it’s possible that could continue in movies rather than the television series.
“There may have been some conversations, but everything is so early-days, ambiguous,” Cohan told TVLine.
Whether that means Maggie returning to the series or appearing in the Rick Grimes movies or another addition to the franchise is unclear for now.
Beyond that, we don’t know if anyone else from the series will show up, but we’ll let you know when we do.
The Walking Dead Season 9 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Related video: The Walking Dead Season 9 Trailer Erupts Into Violent Chaos