Andrew Lincoln left The Walking Dead last fall but, unlike previous exits on the famously blood-thirsty series, Rick Grimes lived to see another day. The reason why is because AMC were planning on shipping – well, flying, in this case – him off into his own franchise. Specifically, his own movie trilogy exploring what happened to Rick after Jadis/Anne took him away in that helicopter to pastures anew.
Lincoln has previously maintained that he would not be returning to the parent show at all. Ruling out such a crossover seemed strange considering that both the movies and the TV series would be airing on the same network, or so we thought. In actual fact though, they won’t even be released on the same medium.
At The Walking Dead Comic-Con panel this afternoon, it was announced that Lincoln’s TWD movie would be exclusively dropped in theaters. The reveal came via a short teaser trailer (see above). The 25-second promo didn’t give us any footage, but it did take the form of a quick animation in which a helicopter is seen flying towards a cityscape. A caption then tells us: “Rick Grimes returns only in theaters.”
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Chief creative officer Scott Gimple, who’s co-writing the script for the film with creator Robert Kirkman, has previously teased that the movies could find their way into cinemas. However, we hadn’t got it confirmed before now, plus the plan might’ve been to simulcast it in theaters and on TV. So, it still comes as a surprise that Lincoln’s spinoff is fully a theatrical release.
Now more than ever, then, these movies represent a huge expansion of The Walking Dead franchise. The other new addition to the universe, of course, is a third TV series focusing on the younger generation of survivors, which is shaping up quite nicely as well.