Fans were surprised last month when an IMDb credit page listed Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes as appearing in The Walking Dead: World Beyond‘s first season finale. Rick is probably the most-loved character in the show’s history, with the first nine runs following his story after he awoke from his coma in the series premiere to find civilization in ruins. As such, his departure was a big moment. Many expected him to die, but he survived and will be the lead in an upcoming movie trilogy.
Exactly what role Rick will play is being established in World Beyond, as it’s providing a lot of background on the Civic Republic Military, who seem to be close to developing a vaccine or cure for the Walker pathogen. With the two plots dovetailing, it certainly seemed plausible that Lincoln could appear as Rick at some point, but unfortunately, this won’t be the case.
At the time, an AMC representative said reports of him being in the season finale were “not accurate” and now, The Walking Dead Chief Content Officer Scott Gimple has confirmed that we’ll not be seeing him on the show. When asked if World Beyond‘s final destination would be Rick, he said:
“You know what? I’m very happy to say… I’m not happy to say the answer. I’m happy to be definitive with people. It is not. That’s one, I don’t know if people are being cagey about that. But I feel that one’s important not to be cagey about. I think people could watch this show and learn a lot about the mythology that Rick Grimes is caught up in. And they might even see places where Rick Grimes has been. But yeah, he’s not swinging around the corner. And I don’t even know if I’m making people upset saying that, but I just don’t like people watching it, sort of expecting Rick.”
Fair enough, though he did go on to explain that the events of this show will be important for the wider story, clarifying that viewers “will learn a lot about the world that Rick is entangled in.”
So, what’s the status of The Walking Dead movie trilogy? Well, we know that Lincoln will definitely appear alongside Pollyanna McIntosh’s Anne and Danai Gurira’s Michonne (not confirmed but strongly rumored). The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in delays, but indications are that they’ll shoot in mid-2021 for a 2022/2023 release. Here’s hoping we get more details soon.