The Walking Dead Still Planning Rick Grimes Movies, Trilogy Might Not Be Guaranteed

Plans for a Walking Dead movie trilogy may be more tentative than originally believed. Following Andrew Lincoln's final episode of the television show in November 2018, then in its ninth season, TWD chief content officer Scott Gimple announced plans for the franchise's first movies on live aftershow Talking Dead, where Gimple confirmed Lincoln would reprise his Rick Grimes role outside of the ongoing TV series. Gimple anticipated a 2019 shooting start but did not commit to a date, telling Entertainment Weekly the movies would go into production "sooner than later." Because the movies are "going to be big" and will be made on feature schedules, Gimple said, they're "going to take a minute to make."

More than one year later, there has been little progress. Noting the lack of news in a December update, Lincoln's co-star Pollyanna McIntosh said the movies are "still happening" despite their quiet development.

Asked in a more recent interview with EW if the plan is still for three movies, Gimple answered, "Yes, but we are still playing with things. That's the plan right now." On progress of the script he's developing with Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, who is said to be heavily involved in the movie side of the franchise, Gimple said, "We are currently refining it. I don't want to say much more than that."

"It's coming together amazingly, but we're trying to make this very special for everybody involved and we're holding our feet to the flames," Gimple added. "It's an incredibly deliberate process right now."

One factor is timing, but it's unclear if Gimple is referring to scheduling conflicts with Lincoln — who in recent months filmed Penguin Bloom in Australia — or perhaps another major star. There have been suspicions, in part stirred by Gimple's comments, that Lincoln could be joined by Michonne star Danai Gurira after the actress exits the show in the upcoming second half of Season 10; it's possible Gurira's packed schedule plays a part in the delay.

"We have a couple of different plans that we're going with depending on a couple of different factors we have to deal with on everything from story to product aspects," Gimple said when asked if the untitled movie has locked shoot dates or locations. "There have been a lot of different aspects to it in terms of timing that are pretty much coming into rapid focus right now. I would say the past year in a lot of ways has been R&D on a lot of aspects of it."

The project currently does not have a director in place, Gimple confirmed. As promised by a teaser trailer released during San Diego Comic-Con in July, the movies are still planned for theatrical release under distributor Universal Pictures as part of a co-production with AMC Studios and Kirkman's Skybound Entertainment.

The movie won't air on AMC because "this is a theatrical film," Gimple said. "Yes, there's AMC, there's Universal, there's Skybound. There are a lot of parties working together to cook up something special."

A release date for The Walking Dead movie has not been set.

The Walking Dead Season 10 returns with new episodes Feb. 23 on AMC. For more TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.