The Walking Dead feature film, a spin-off from the TV-MA-rated television series with star Andrew Lincoln back as Rick Grimes, will reportedly brandish a "hard" R rating. In December, Lincoln revealed the long-gestating feature film would begin shooting this spring after missing a once-planned 2019 production start. It was the first significant update since Walking Dead chief content officer and writer-producer Scott Gimple announced Lincoln's return in a film trilogy in November 2018, revealed immediately following the actor's departure from the television series. The films were envisioned as AMC originals that would air on the network before AMC Studios and Skybound Entertainment partnered with Universal Pictures in a pact bringing The Walking Dead to movie theaters.
The Walking Dead Movie's expected R-rating comes from scooper Daniel Richtman on his Patreon page. Gimple previously suggested his script penned with Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman would be 17+ when he compared the film to Logan, the gritty X-Men spin-off rated R for strong brutal violence and language throughout.
"[The Walking Dead Movie has to] honor people who have invested the time in their lives and the show, but we can't do that at the expense of inviting everybody," Gimple told ComicBook.com. "[Avengers: Endgame] was the culmination of years and years and years and years of stuff, but I'm sure people who just showed up had a good time."
When audiences see Rick for the first time since he disappeared aboard a Civic Republic Military helicopter in 2018, Gimple said it's "likely going to be a very different Rick" changed by his time away from The Walking Dead. More than six years have passed in-universe since Rick and Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) were shuttled away to a new corner of the zombie apocalypse.
"It's a different thing, and I think in some ways it's about the completeness of the story, fulfilling the character of Rick Grimes and taking people on a bit of a thrill-ride, to boot," Gimple told THR about the standalone movie in 2019. "It is a different format, you know, movies are not television. There's been a lot of talk of TV shows being like one long movie. There's a real art to making that 90-minute, 120-minute entertainment — the lights go out, you get taken to another place, the lights come up, and you forgot you were away. It's a different kind of challenge, and I'm loving tackling it."
Gimple says the "crazy zombie movie" is "for everyone," meaning franchise newcomers and die-hard Walking Dead viewers alike. For his part, Lincoln has compared Rick's return to the Clint Eastwood-starring and R-rated western Unforgiven.
The Walking Dead Movie has not announced a title or release date.