The Walking Dead Star Andrew Lincoln Grows Out Rick Grimes Beard Again

Andrew Lincoln is sporting a beard some fans are pointing out resembles a look Rick Grimes had in his final season of The Walking Dead, where Rick went missing aboard a helicopter piloted by the Civic Republic Military. Rick's disappearance in season 9 episode "What Comes After," which aired two years ago on November 4, was followed by Dead chief content officer Scott Gimple announcing Lincoln's return in the Walking Dead feature film trilogy from AMC. Hampering production on the theatrical release film is the COVID-19 pandemic, something Gimple says has allowed himself and co-writer Robert Kirkman more time to "perfect" the script ahead of Rick's return to TWD Universe.

Lincoln and his Love Actually co-star Bill Nighy were photographed together in Mayfair, London, in a picture posted November 2 by Mols Simpson on Instagram. On Monday, London's Old Vic Theatre announced Lincoln is playing Ebenezer Scrooge in a live-streamed stage production of A Christmas Carol from December 12 through Christmas Eve.

"Wow! Look at the Rick beard," one fan tweeted in response to the photo. "Time to get some movies out," wrote another, referring to the Walking Dead films that have made few public developments since that first announcement in November 2018.

Both fans and the creative team would have a clearer idea of an exact production start date were it not for the pandemic that shuttered the entertainment industry for most of 2020, Gimple said in a recent update.

"I would say this: Movies take a long time," Gimple told The Los Angeles Times in October, where he reaffirmed plans for the films to release theatrically through distributor Universal Pictures. "It's been a cool process. Andy has been deeply, deeply involved in it. Robert is deeply involved in it. It's slowly but surely coming together in a really, really cool way."

During the virtual San Diego Comic-Con in July, Gimple told ComicBook.com that Lincoln is "itching to get back" to the Rick Grimes role and that the actor is "super involved" and "very interested" in the feature film.

The untitled feature will answer what's happened to Rick in the more than seven years he's been away from his family on The Walking Dead, where Rick was presumed dead in a bridge explosion. Michonne (Danai Gurira) and daughter Judith (Cailey Fleming) only recently discovered Rick survived past the bridge, spurring Michonne to head off in search of Rick and bring him home.

Rick is likely being held prisoner by the Civic Republic, the three-circle organization connecting all three shows of the Walking Dead Universe and the driving human threat on spinoff The Walking Dead: World Beyond.

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The two-season limited event series co-created by Gimple does connect to the feature films, but an AMC spokesperson repudiated rumors that Lincoln appears in the season finale of World Beyond airing December 6.

Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. The Walking Dead returns with new episodes early 2021 on AMC.