The Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln will reprise his role as Rick Grimes across three television movies to premiere on AMC, Walking Dead chief content officer Scott Gimple announced on Talking Dead Sunday.
The first film is expected to begin production in 2019.
"This is not a trick. This is the end of Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead. This is not going to be the end of Rick Grimes' story," Gimple said on the live aftershow immediately trailing Lincoln's last episode of the flagship series.
"We're going to continue telling Rick Grimes' story in a series of AMC original films. There's a lot of story to tell."
Gimple teased the Lincoln-led films will "show a different corner of the world," spinning out of The Walking Dead 905, "What Comes After," which revealed a bloodied Rick Grimes was ultimately rescued by Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh), disappearing into the horizon on board a helicopter to parts unknown.
"It's going to show a different situation that Rick is involved in. These are going to be shown on AMC, but they are going to have the scope of feature films," Gimple explained, promising an "epic story told over years."
According to a press release distributed by AMC, "The first film will explore the story of where Rick is taken and what he faces in a new corner of the zombie apocalypse."
"We have a lot on the horizon – starting with a new epic featuring one of the greatest leading actors in television history and one of the best people I've ever met," Gimple says in the statement.
"These films are going to be big evolutions of what we've been doing on the show, with the scope and scale of features. We're starting with the first part of the continuing story of Rick Grimes, and there is much more on the way, featuring yet-unseen worlds of The Walking Dead and faces from the show's past, as well as new characters we hope to become favorites, told by TWD veterans and emerging voices. We want to break new ground with different, distinct stories, all part of the same world that's captured our imagination for nearly a decade of the Dead."
As CCO, Gimple is also overseeing the development of additional films, specials, series, and other digital content that will explore the Walking Dead universe in the past, present, and future, telling standalone as well as over-arching stories with characters both alive and dead.
Gimple and AMC have yet to announce release dates for the projects.