The Walking Dead Producer Explains Why the Rick Grimes Movie Is Taking So Long

The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd updates the Untitled Walking Dead Movie and explains the franchise's first feature film must meet audience demand for a scope deserving of the big screen. It's been two years since a cryptic Comic-Con teaser for the movie spin-off revealed Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) returns only in theaters, where audiences will at long last learn what happened after Rick disappeared from the AMC television series in 2018. Hurd, who produces the Walking Dead Movie with Lincoln and the creative team of Scott Gimple and franchise creator Robert Kirkman, explains why progress has been slow on Rick's return to the Walking Dead Universe:

"When the series itself has such a large scope, you have to make sure that the scope of the film matches the demands of a theatrical audience," Hurd told Variety at the Locarno Film Festival, where the Terminator and Aliens producer will receive the Best Producer Award. Hurd added the Walking Dead movie must also continue "with the nuanced characters that people come to expect from the TV series. That's why."

Gimple, the chief content officer of AMC's Walking Dead Universe, announced a made-for-TV movie trilogy with Lincoln in November 2018. Gimple described the movies as "big evolutions of what we've been doing on the show, with the scope and scale of features," revealing on Talking Dead that the trilogy would unspool "an epic story told over years" on the same channel that airs The Walking Dead.

In July 2019, AMC Networks and Skybound Entertainment announced a partnership with distributors Universal Pictures putting the Walking Dead movies — and Rick's return — only in theaters. According to an official description, the first movie will "explore the story of where Rick is taken and what he faces in a new corner of the zombie apocalypse."

"I wish that there were more updates. There's a lot going on behind the scenes," Kirkman said in an update from last month's virtual San Diego Comic-Con@Home 2021. "Everybody's working very hard to make this thing as good as it can be. All I will say: we don't want a bad Rick Grimes movie. We want an amazing Rick Grimes movie, so everybody behind the scenes is making sure that when this comes out it was worth the wait and it is actually the special, character-building Rick Grimes journey that everybody wants it to be."

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Kirkman added: "We're not going to be rushing this thing out, and we're going to make sure that it's perfect. So that's what's going on behind the scenes. And when it finally comes out, when we're showing trailers and stuff, you'll see. You'll be like, 'That's exactly what we wanted. I'm so glad they waited.'"

Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. The Final Season of The Walking Dead premieres August 22 on AMC.