In a move that’s been coming for months now, The Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln bid farewell to AMC’s hit television series in a Sunday, November 4, episode that whisked his character off to an unknown destination in its final moments.
Where Lincoln’s character — former sheriff Rick Grimes, who has led the show’s cast of survivors for eight seasons — heads to after the episode’s climax remains a mystery, but the network offered some clues with a surprising announcement that accompanied the episode.
According to AMC, Lincoln will star in a series of feature-length movies for AMC Studios Original Films that will expand The Walking Dead universe, with the first film revealing where the mysterious helicopter flew off to with Rick. That film is expected to begin production in 2019.
AMC’s Chief Content Officer Scott M. Gimple will pen the script for the Walking Dead features, and a multi-year plan is envisioned for the network’s “Walking Dead Universe,” with more films, spinoff series (including the Fear the Walking Dead series), and tie-in projects in various stages of development.
“These films are going to be big evolutions of what we’ve been doing on the show, with the scope and scale of features,” Gimple said in a statement. “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.”
Based on the comic book series of the same name, The Walking Dead premiered October 31, 2010, and follows a group of people struggling to survive in a world filled with flesh-eating zombies. Over the course of eight seasons, Rick Grimes has led an ever-changing group of survivors in a battle against threats both undead and very human as they attempt to find safe haven and rebuild their lives.
Season 9 of The Walking Dead premiered October 7, with Lincoln exiting the series during the fifth episode, titled What Comes After. The midseason finale will premiere November 25, with the second half of the season airing in 2019.