The Walking Dead feature film trilogy is "slowly but surely coming together," assures screenwriter and producer Scott Gimple, who says it's still the plan for Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes to return across "multiple theatrical releases." Gimple first announced those plans in November 2018 in the wake of Lincoln's departure from The Walking Dead television show after eight years, calling the films "big evolutions" of the series with the "scope and scale of features." Nearly two years later, production on the as-yet-untitled Walking Dead films is at a standstill: producers confirmed over the summer cameras could not begin rolling until it was safe to do so amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Gimple reaffirmed plans for multiple theatrical releases with The Los Angeles Times, saying the trilogy will "tell a story that continues." And were it not for the pandemic, Gimple noted, it would be clear when the features could get rolling.
"I would say this: Movies take a long time," Gimple said. "It's been a cool process. Andy has been deeply, deeply involved in it. [Creator] Robert [Kirkman] is deeply involved in it. It's slowly but surely coming together in a really, really cool way."
He continued, "But movies take longer than TV. ... I probably should have told everybody that."
In a November 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Gimple did say the films are "going to be big, so they're going to take a minute to make." While Gimple did not commit to an exact production start, he said they would "most likely" start filming sometime in 2019.
"But it really is going to be sooner than later," he said at the time. "On the flip side, these are not going to be made on television schedules."
The creators have confirmed they're taking advantage of the pandemic to "hone things up," ensuring the script is as strong as it can be before cameras roll — whenever that may be.
"We're coming along in a big way. We're just in this particular space where we have [to wait]," Walking Dead executive producer and Skybound Entertainment co-founder David Alpert said in a July update. "We can't shoot right now, so that's just the big thing holding us back."
"We are desperate to get back into production, and get everything going," he added, "but we have something really exciting, really unique, really different, and can't wait to get it going. We just have to wait for it to be safe."
Despite a lack of formal announcements or updates, Kirkman said there's "tons of stuff going on behind the scenes."
"I don't want anyone to think that we're just kind of waiting around for this pandemic to end," he 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 on the big screen is his Walking Dead co-star Pollyanna McIntosh, whose Anne (formerly Jadis of the Scavengers) disappeared alongside Rick in Lincoln's final episode of the television series. Rick and Anne flew away from The Walking Dead aboard a helicopter belonging to the Civic Republic Military, a dangerous organization that next returns in Gimple co-created spinoff The Walking Dead: World Beyond.
Gimple previously told ComicBook.com that Lincoln is "itching to get back" to the Rick Grimes role, saying the actor is "super involved" with the process and "throws around the football with the rest of us."
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