The Walking Dead Director Says Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes Will Return in 2021

The Walking Dead director Rosemary Rodriguez appears to reveal a potential 2021 release date for [...]

The Walking Dead director Rosemary Rodriguez appears to reveal a potential 2021 release date for the Walking Dead feature film bringing back the long-missing Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). Announced by Walking Dead chief content officer and screenwriter Scott Gimple in November 2018, the undated and untitled feature film eyed a tentative 2019 production start that failed to materialize. According to Gimple, the Walking Dead feature would begin filming "sooner than later" but would be produced "on feature schedules, and they're going to be big, so they're going to take a minute to make."

In December, after months of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Lincoln revealed a planned spring 2021 shooting start for the feature film marking his return to the Walking Dead Universe after more than two years away.

When the Walking Dead Twitter account asked users to reveal what they're "most looking forward to in 2021," Rodriguez replied: "Finding Rick Grimes on the big screen!"

2021 is also the beginning of the end for The Walking Dead: after a six-episode extended season 10 to start the year, the long-running television series airs the first part of its eleventh and final season in October. The 24-episode sendoff season will end with its series finale later in 2022.

Rodriguez has worked on The Walking Dead since season 7, under then-showrunner Scott Gimple, directing episodes "Sing Me a Song," "The Damned," and season 9 episode "The Obliged." Rodriguez's other credits include numerous episodes of The Good Wife and Apple+ series Home Before Dark, as well as full-length films Acts of Worship and Silver Skies. AMC Studios and Skybound Entertainment have not announced a director for the Walking Dead film.

In "The Obliged," Lincoln's penultimate episode of the television series, Rick repairs his strained relationship with Daryl (Norman Reedus) before he's bucked from his horse and impaled on a protruding piece of rebar. In "What Comes After," Lincoln's exit episode directed by series veteran Greg Nicotero, a wounded Rick nearly dies when he sets off a bridge explosion to halt an advancing walker horde.

When Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) finds Rick hurt but alive, she pleads for a hovering Civic Republic Military helicopter to rescue him — flying the both of them away from The Walking Dead.

"Two years ago, almost to the day, I was in the wilds of England with Mr. Andy Lincoln working on the movie. And because we work in television, we thought we would be working on the second one right now," Gimple said in an update aired during The Walking Dead Holiday Special. "Movies take a long time, but it'll be worth the wait. It is moving forward. The COVID time kind of slowed things down anyways, but we're using that time to go back to the lab and make it as great as possible."

He added to Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick, "I know that doesn't give you much … but it's happening."

Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. The Walking Dead returns with new episodes on February 28, 2021, on AMC.