Richonne lives: Rick Grimes and Michonne are returning to the Walking Dead Universe. Four years after Andrew Lincoln confirmed his exit from The Walking Dead during the show's Comic-Con panel in 2018, AMC announced Friday that Lincoln is reprising the Rick Grimes role opposite Danai Gurira as Michonne in a new series in 2023 on AMC and AMC+. The news broke at the zombie drama's final series panel inside Comic-Con's Hall H in San Diego, where the network revealed the full-length trailer for The Walking Dead: The Last Episodes, the eight-part finale concluding the series this October on AMC.
The Walking Dead is ending, but Rick and Michonne's stories are not over.
The development comes nearly four years after Scott Gimple, the chief content officer of AMC's Walking Dead Universe, announced that Lincoln would star in a series of AMC Studios Original Films continuing the story of Rick Grimes. The series will begin with six episodes and replaces the previously announced Rick Grimes movie trilogy.
The new world NEEDS Rick and Michonne. pic.twitter.com/orvvTo8sHi— The Walking Dead on AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) July 22, 2022
Reads the synopsis for the series set to reunite Rick and Michonne: "This series presents an epic love story of two characters changed by a changed world. Kept apart by distance. By an unstoppable power. By the ghosts of who they were. Rick and Michonne are thrown into another world, built on a war against the dead... And ultimately, a war against the living. Can they find each other and who they were in a place and situation unlike any they've ever known before? Are they enemies? Lovers? Victims? Victors? Without each other, are they even alive — or will they find that they, too, are the Walking Dead?"
"This is a moment fans of The Walking Dead have been waiting for since Rick disappeared in the helicopter early in season nine, and Michonne journeyed away on a quest to find him the following season," said Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks. "What a great surprise for the fans at this final Comic-Con for the series that launched this universe and made television history. We couldn't be more excited for a truly epic series finale later this year and to see Andy and Danai return in a new series they helped create, one of three new series coming in 2023 that continue the stories of so many iconic and fan-favorite TWD characters."
Gimple, who scripted the planned Walking Dead movie trilogy with franchise creator Robert Kirkman, will serve as showrunner on the as-yet-untitled Rick and Michonne spinoff. Lincoln and Gurira will also serve as executive producers on the series.
"Rick and Michonne are two of my favorite people and Danai and Andy are two of my favorite people. Working with all of them continues to be a dream come true," Gimple said. "The three of us, along with a terrific team of TWD all stars and incredible new voices, are crafting an insane love epic worth the long, long wait."
Said Lincoln: "This has been the most extraordinary journey playing Rick Grimes for the best part of a decade. The friendships I've made along the way are deep and lasting, so it's fitting that I finally get to complete the story with Danai and Scott and the rest of the TWD family. I'm so excited to be returning to the screen as Rick, reuniting with Danai as Michonne, and bringing the fans an epic love story to add to the Walking Dead Universe."
Said Gurira: "Michonne and this TWD family has meant so much to me, and to continue the journey of these beloved characters, alongside Scott and Andy, both creatively and in front of the camera, and bringing The Walking Dead fans something truly special is just glorious. I can't wait to pick up the katana again."
In Lincoln's last episode of The Walking Dead, the mortally wounded Rick disappeared when Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) shuttled him away aboard a Civic Republic Military helicopter. The Walking Dead: World Beyond, a limited series co-created by Gimple, later confirmed that Jadis traded Rick to the Civic Republic in Pennsylvania, although Lincoln did not appear on the spinoff.
Following a time jump, more than six years have passed since Rick went missing in the Season 9 episode "What Comes After." Rick was presumed dead after he blew up a bridge to save his family and friends from a walker horde, leaving Michonne and Daryl (Norman Reedus) unable to recover his body.
In Season 10, Gurira exited the series when Michonne set off to find Rick and bring him home to their children, Rick "RJ" Grimes Jr. (Antony Azor) and Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming).
Other Walking Dead spinoffs in development at AMC Studios include Isle of the Dead, starring Lauren Cohan as Maggie and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, and the untitled Daryl Dixon solo spinoff series starring Reedus. Both are scheduled to premiere in 2023 on AMC and AMC+.
The Walking Dead: The Last Episodes begin Sunday, October 2 on AMC and AMC+. The untitled Rick Grimes and Michonne spinoff will premiere in 2023 on AMC and AMC+.