The Walking Dead AMC series said goodbye to Rick Grimes last night, and they probably couldn’t have done it in a better way. They left his fate open ended as he was swept off with Anne and whoever else was with them in the helicopter.
This may leave you wondering, “Is Rick coming back to the series since they left his fate in question?” What we know for sure is that he won’t be returning to the series.
He will be returning to our lives as Rick Grimes, though.
Shortly after the episode aired, Chief Content Officer Scott Gimple announced that AMC is in the process of creating a series of films to continue Rick’s story. The first film is expected to begin production in 2019.
In that film, we will see where Rick is taken, and what he deals with in a brand new part of the apocalypse, according to AMC.
Fans suspected such films a few weeks back, and Gimple teased an expanded universe, but we couldn’t have expected this great news. The story doesn’t even stop there. Allegedly, there are other films, series, specials and more digital content planned. Some of those will feature the world of the series, and others will explore brand new territory, just like the sister show Fear The Walking Dead is doing.
Here’s what Scott Gimple said last night about the upcoming films:
“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,” said 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. 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. 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.”
He expressed his excitement for the new territories as well,
“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,” said 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, beginning with the character who started it all, Rick Grimes.”
Andrew Lincoln appeared on Talking Dead after his final episode in an interview hoted by Yvette Nicole Brown. He extended on his previous Comic Con quote where he teased fans, “My relationship with Rick Grimes is far from over.”
Now we know what he meant.
“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. And 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.” Andy told Brown.
As for how long the films have been planned? They have been in the works for years, Gimple tells EW.
Andy and I had some talks that were hardly formal or binding or anything, but just about how we’re very lucky to have such an amazing audience, and it going on and on and on. And so in the back of my head, I started mapping some things out, and they became more real in story even before Andy’s ultimate decision, but I already started putting things in the story and started developing a story that either would feature Andy, which I thought it would, or possibly could be something else inside that garden of forking paths.
But as we got closer and closer, those things that I put into the story looked like they were going to come to fruition, and last year things got really real, and I started talking with everybody a little more clearly, especially [new showrunner Angela Kang]. When I was moving her up into the showrunning position, there was a whole briefing of all the stuff we had to handle, and all the stuff that I’d stitched in the story to get there.
There was actually a plan to have Andy leave during the All Out War, but everyone wanted to make sure the story was served as best as it could be.
There was an absolute plan, and I knew which episode it was, and had a very good idea, as did the writers at that point. But on this show, it’s a constant exercise in that sort of choose your own adventure storytelling, of knowing the directions you’re going to go in, and listing them all.
The fact that Rick Grimes will be back on screen is a very exciting prospect for fans who were nervous about his exit from the series. He stated that he wanted to spend more time with his family in England because filming the series takes up months and months of his time. With the films, there will likely be a much more nailed down filming process, and he will have longer breaks in between.
Are you excited to see Rick Grimes’ story explored in new ways?
The Walking Dead airs Sundaya at 9 PM ET on AMC!
Shannon Toohey is Editor-In-Chief of FanFest.com. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2015 with a B.A. in Journalism from the Lawrence Herbert School of Communications. Shannon has been a proud member of the Fan Fest team since 2013. Tweet her in your prettiest bird voice: @shannontoo