The following story contains spoilers from Sunday’s Walking Dead — proceed at your own peril!
Andrew Lincoln‘s much ballyhooed final episode of Walking Dead did not end with Rick taking a post-apocalyptic dirt nap (read our recap here) — and here’s why: AMC announced late Sunday that it has greenlit a series of movies starring Lincoln that will “continue the story of Rick Grimes.”
In an interview on The Talking Dead immediately following Lincoln’s “farewell” episode, EP Scott Gimple — who will write the movies — said the Rick-centric films will “expand the universe” and “show a whole different corner of the world.” (They will also allow the UK-based Lincoln to spend more time with his family; in fact, there’s talk the movies could film in Europe.)
“It’s not the beginning of the end, it’s the end of the beginning,” Lincoln said during a pre-taped interview on The Talking Dead. “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.”
It was roughly three months ago (at San Diego Comic-Con) that Lincoln officially announced that he was leaving Walking Dead after nearly a decade. “This will be my last season, playing the part of Rick Grimes,” he confirmed upon taking the stage at the show’s panel. “I love [Walking Dead]. It means everything to me. I love the people who make this show. I promise not to cry — I’ve done enough crying on screen.
“I’m particularly fond of the people who watch this show, you people,” Lincoln continued, addressing the fans in the audience. “This has been the most extraordinary, amazing and beautiful experience of my career… So I just want to thank you.”
Production on the first Rick Grimes movie will begin in 2019.