The Walking Dead continues its march toward its series finale, but it will be far from the end of the universe as a whole. We know that after season 11 and spin-off The World Beyond wraps, the universe will continue with a Daryl and Carol spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead trekking on and anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead spooling up.
And yet through all this, one question remains. Where is Rick Grimes, and where are the movies that were promised starring him that were announced three years ago at this point?
Yes, it really has been that long, and even accounting for COVID-based delays, the timeline on these continues to be unclear, and we only have the barest hints about Grimes’ status and the state of these movies.
Things we know:
- Rick Grimes has been captured by the CRM, the organization with the helicopters that has had a major role in World Beyond.
- Michonne has left the main show to go look for Rick, presumably also returning for these movies.
- Jadis, the CRM agent who left the show at the same time as Rick returns to The World Beyond for an appearance.
- The movies, at least the first one, take place in Philadelphia, the CRM stronghold, which was revealed in promotional art.
But past that, things don’t exactly seem to be ultra-clear regarding the film. Here’s what producer Gale Anne Hurd said in back in August 2021 about the delay:
“When the series itself has such a large scope, you have to make sure that the scope of the film matches the demands of a theatrical audience,” Hurd recently told Variety, “but also continues with the nuanced characters that people come to expect from the TV series. That’s why [it’s taking a long time].”
Before that, in July, director Greg Nicotero seemed somewhat confused about what was going on, and the priority of the movies compared to the new series that were springing up:
“I wish I knew, and I wish I could say. I’ve read a variety of drafts of the scripts over the last few months. They’re really making sure that they get it right.
“I don’t know, because I’m always in my head going, ‘Okay, so Walking Dead is wrapping up [in season 11], but now they’re talking about all these spin-offs and all these movies and all this and all that.”
Andrew Lincoln left the show originally in order to spend more time with his family in the UK, as the commute to see them was overwhelming, but he wanted to keep the door open to return. While he will never make it back to the main series before it ends, which is now clear, this movie trilogy was supposed to be a middleground, keeping him in the story and giving AMC a chance to take a series of Walking Dead movies to theaters. As Hurd says, the movies are supposed to be big enough in scope to warrant a move like that.
But, it’s been silence. The show has trucked on without Rick, replacing him in major comic storylines with a few characters, Daryl, Carol, Maggie and others, assuming leadership roles. The show has generally been improved since the Negan era, but Rick, and also Carl’s presence have been missed. Now Michonne has left too, and it feels like the core of the series was carved out too soon in many ways.
Andrew Lincoln has done almost nothing acting-wise since he left the show, a role in a movie or play or two, but nothing major. Maybe he’s just spending time with family, collecting Walking Dead residuals, but it’s not like he used this moment to expand his acting profile into other features in a big way like some other actors did when they left. I’m not sure where his head is at these days when it comes to reprising Rick again, or whether he still feels leaving the series when he did was the right call. He’s joked that it was a “terrible decision,” saying that his family was sick of him being around all the time. He did say his son misses Georgia, however, and there do seem to be a good amount of hints that perhaps he wishes he was still on the series. Maybe that’s wistful fan thinking, but I don’t know.
We’ll see what happens with these movies. Even if they do manifest, it seems unlikely to be a grand reunion of The Walking Dead cast, as only people like Jadis and Michonne might appear, not the full crew. Nothing to report for a long while now, as we’re left continue to wonder what’s going on.