After nine seasons, clocking in at a whopping 120 episodes, it seems we still haven’t had our fill of Rick Grimes and the gang from The Walking Dead.
In fact, talks are now underway for three feature-length films, focussing on Andrew Lincoln’s character from the post-apocalyptic series.
Chief content officer for The Walking Dead, Scott M. Gimple, is currently writing the first of the run of movies for AMC, which will go straight to television, and production is slated to begin in 2019.
Lincoln’s character, Rick Grimes, recently departed the show with (spoiler alert) possibilities we hadn’t seen the last of him. However, the actor had stated one reason for leaving the show was to spend more time with his family in England, so it’s unclear where the movies will be filmed or set.
The films are the next step in AMC’s plan to grow The Walking Dead into a multibillion-dollar franchise, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The story of Rick will go on in films. Right now, we’re working on three but there’s flexibility in that… Over the next several years, we’re going to be doing specials, new series are quite a possibility, high-quality digital content and then some content that defies description at the moment.
We’re going to dig into the past and see old characters. We’re going to introduce new characters and new situations.
According to Gimple, the ideas for the TV movies emerged from a conversation between himself and Lincoln around the time they were filming season four. The pair had originally decided Grimes should leave after season eight.
However, their plan evolved, with the two men – who both have young families – deciding they could continue the story of Rick Grimes in a way that made logistical sense, both in and outside of the show, as well as providing the opportunity to expand the franchise.
Rick Grimes is an amazing character and Andy has done an amazing performance. There were story ideas brewing that, as the years went on, seemed very compatible with continuing to tell the Rick story in another format that would allow him time with his family.
David Madden, AMC’s programming president, said the films will not be bonus content or one long episode of show, but rather a ‘large, big scope movie that will feel like a major motion picture’:
We look at this as a very long-term proposition. We’re trying to expand into as many different places as the show fits.
We think this is a franchise that could live across formats. We want to do it carefully, be strategic and do it right.
There is a multiple-year plan that could include additional series, digital content and specials. We’re looking to broaden this into a universe where the movies that Andy will be in are the highest-profile things that we do.
As the show currently works its way through its ninth season, with a look towards returning for a tenth, it seems the world of The Walking Dead is only just beginning to open up.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.