First 'The Walking Dead' Movie Eyes 2019 Production Start

Tonight may have been the last time Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes appears on The Walking Dead, but [...]

Tonight may have been the last time Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes appears on The Walking Dead, but the character's future in the larger AMC universe based around the show is far from earlier.

Immediately following tonight's episode, it was announced that Lincoln would be the star of a trilogy of straight-to-TV movies featuring Grimes and various other characters from The Walking Dead. According to The Walking Dead producer and AMC executive Scott Gimple, they're heading into production of the movies sooner rather than later.

"I am extremely hard at work on the first one right now, and most likely filming next year, though I'm freaking out about deadlines right now, so I'm not going to tell you exactly when because it will only make me pass out," Gimple told Entertainment Weekly. "But it really is going to be sooner than later. On the flip side, these are not going to be made on television schedules."

"This is going to be on feature schedules, and they're going to be big, so they're going to take a minute to make."

Talking about Rick's future, Gimple was sure point out that the character is done on The Walking Dead television show.

"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."

"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."

Although production is slated to begin on the first of three films next year, AMC or Gimple failed to provided a slate of potential release dates.