Rick Grimes may have departed for good from AMC’s The Walking Dead during season 9, but the franchise is far from done with his story. Back in November 2018, TWD‘s chief content officer Scott Gimple told The Hollywood Reporter that the beloved character would be at the center of at least three feature films set in the show’s universe. Then, during San Diego Comic-Con 2019, AMC and Universal Pictures released a teaser for the first film, promising that Rick Grimes would return “only in theaters” at an unspecified date.
Now, Gimple has finally shared a few more details about the as-yet-unnamed movie. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he revealed that they’re “currently refining” the script and have yet to choose a director. He also added that, as of right now, the plan is still for actor Andrew Lincoln to reprise his role in a trilogy of films. Most significantly, he teased that the film will go in “some wild new directions.” Here’s what we think those could be.
Spoilers ahead for season 9, episode 5 of The Walking Dead.
In the interview, Gimple revealed that the movie would bring Rick to a world beyond what we’ve seen in the flagship show:
We are going to continue to tell Rick’s story, and we are going to discover so much of the world through that story. Rick will be challenged in different ways that, in some ways, everything that he’s been through has sort of prepared him for. It’s a much larger world than one that he had been operating in, and that was challenging in and of itself. Now things are heightened, and just as we’re going to the movies — and it is the movies proper, suitably wide screen — we’re going to be filling that screen with a brand new world.
Now, when we last saw Rick, he was being taken off by a helicopter emblazoned with a mysterious insignia: three interlocking rings, a symbol that also pops up in Fear the Walking Dead, connected to a mysterious (not to mention terrifying) organization possibly called “CRM” that is obsessed with “the future.”
This symbol/organization also plays a prominent role in the upcoming TWD spin-off show, World Beyond, which takes place ten years after the walkers arrived and kicked off the apocalypse. As ComicBook.com notes, that places Rick’s disappearance via copter around 6 years before World Beyond, implying heavily that at least one of the three films will play a huge role in affecting the events of the third TWD show.
Gimple confirmed as much back in 2018. In his interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he revealed the new movies will “explore the period between Rick’s helicopter rescue and the years-later time jump that was featured at the end of Sunday’s episode — and stretch beyond that period,” with each film telling “a complete story about Rick.”
“It is about who he is and who he’s going to be — and certainly how he deals with the situation he’s in,” Gimple teased then, to THR. “We know Rick Grimes; he would want to be home.”
Gimple also, notably, confirmed that the first film will a.) feature Rick’s POV and b.) explore the “vast mythology” behind the CRM/three-rings organization. Putting two and two together, this likely means that the first TWD movie will largely feature Rick as he attempts to escape the clutches of the mysterious group, only to falter (and possibly even join them) as he uncovers a twist that calls into question everything he knows. (We’re gonna guess…they created the zombie virus? No, wait Robert Kirkman said that wasn’t an important plot point. Okay then, maybe…CRM figured out how to weaponize it, and they use it to target communities they don’t like, and that’s why there are still zombies around 10 years later?) Rick’s actions could then lead to continued success of the organization, as we can see in the trailer for The Walking Dead: World Beyond.
But of course, this is all just speculation. We’ll know more when World Beyond debuts on AMC next spring, and when we get a release date for the first film.