The Walking Dead feature film is still planning to release into theaters despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which producers say is holding up production on the Rick Grimes-focused spinoff starring Andrew Lincoln. Announced by screenwriter-producer Scott Gimple in the wake of Lincoln's exit from the television series in November 2018, the untitled Walking Dead feature from AMC and Skybound Entertainment added Universal Pictures as a distributing partner in July 2019. Gimple first described the Walking Dead film as a television movie with the "scope and scale" of a feature before the project, once expected to premiere on AMC, was elevated to a theatrical release.
"I mean, the plan is for it to be in theaters," Gimple told Decider when asked about the Rick film, adding "we live in totally crazy times."
"Everything seems great. We're following the plan for it to be in theaters," said Gimple, who also serves as the chief content officer over all things Dead. "We're making it a theatrical film. But with the way things are going, there might be an alien invasion tomorrow. I, for one, welcome our Martian overlords. Who knows? There's a lot of craziness out in the world right now. But we're following the plan, and we're doing just as Robert [Kirkman] said: we're using the time to hone things up."
In July, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman said the feature film would creatively benefit from the shutdowns impacting the entertainment industry. And Lincoln, who is equally tight-lipped about the film, would only say in an update last week that "we're working on it."
"Andy was asked about — and Andy is super involved, Robert is super involved — Andy was asked about how it's going, and I liked his answer," Gimple said. "It was just like, 'We are working on it.' I'm like, 'Oh, if only I could be like that.'"
During this summer's virtual Skybound Xpo, where Skybound co-founder and Walking Dead executive producer David Alpert named COVID-19 as the biggest roadblock for production, Kirkman noted there continues to be "tons of stuff going on behind the scenes" despite a lack of official announcements.
"I don't want anyone to think that we're just kind of waiting around for this pandemic to end," Kirkman said. "I would say that, if anything, the pandemic is going to make a lot of movies better. I think the Rick Grimes movie chief among them, just because we're getting a lot more time to cook this thing and make sure it's perfect. But when things do quiet down, you guys are going to hear a ton more about this movie."
Joining Lincoln is his Walking Dead co-star Pollyanna McIntosh, who plays Anne, the zombie apocalypse survivor formerly known as Jadis of the Scavengers. Lincoln and McIntosh's final episode of The Walking Dead saw their characters shuttled away aboard a helicopter belonging to the Civic Republic Military, which plays a key role in Gimple co-created TV spinoff The Walking Dead: World Beyond.
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