Rick Grimes Lives! Andrew Lincoln Isn't Done with 'The Walking Dead' Yet as AMC Announces Movies

Following the actor's hotly anticipated departure Sunday night, AMC announced a series of TV movies continuing his character's story

Rick Grimes will live to slay another day.

Andrew Lincoln may have departed The Walking Dead on Sunday night, but his character lived — and will live on in a series of The Walking Dead Universe movies on AMC.

At the conclusion of Sunday’s season 9 episode, a mortally wounded Rick blew up a bridge to save all of his loved ones from a massive zombie hoard — leaving them to assume he died in the explosion. But thankfully, Anne (aka Jadis, played by Pollyanna McIntosh) found him and was able to talk her mysterious contact into picking him up in a helicopter and flying him to an unknown destination.

According to the network, “The first film will explore the story of where Rick is taken and what he faces in a new corner of the zombie apocalypse.” The movie, which is expected to go into production as early as next year, will be written by TWD‘s Chief Content Officer Scott M. Gimple.

“It’s not the beginning of the end, it’s the end of the beginning,” Lincoln, 45, explained during an interview on Talking Dead on Sunday night. “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, 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. … It’s the start of a bigger story.”

Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

AMC and Gimple are also developing additional Walking Dead projects, including more movies, specials, series and digital content. Some may even bring back more familiar faces from the show’s history.

“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,” Gimple said in a statement. “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.”

AMC Presents Live, 90-Minute Special Edition Of "Talking Dead" - Arrivals
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

News of Lincoln’s departure from the show he launched in 2010 first broke in May. The actor confirmed the news at San Diego Comic-Con in July, explaining that his choice to step away from the show was all about his family.

“I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older. It was that simple,” he said on EW Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105). “It was time for me to come home.”

Lincoln’s home base with his wife, Gael Anderson, and two kids, son Arthur and daughter Matilda, is in England, while The Walking Dead films in Georgia for more than half the year.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

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