Andrew Lincoln left "The Walking Dead" on Sunday night after eight and a half years on the AMC show, but his time playing Rick Grimes is hardly over. The first one, which will likely begin production in 2019, will explain where he ended up after he was taken off in a helicopter at the end of tonight's episode, leaving the rest of the crew to believe he's dead.
Last season brought the culmination of "All Out War", which pitted Rick Grimes and his group of survivors against the Saviors and their cunning leader, Negan. "We appreciate [Andy's] leadership", he says through a mustache that has to be seen to be believed, "but... he's a really bad actor". "We've seen Netflix make these, basically, studio films for people to watch in their homes, and we're going to be doing the same sort of thing here".
Much of the episode - which picked up with Rick skewered by a metal pole and surrounded by zombies - reached back to the program's past, a magical mystery tour through its best (and better) days, featuring a number of cameos by since-departed regulars.
London-born Lincoln, 45, announced his Walking Dead departure earlier this year and viewers have been waiting eagerly to see how his character leaves the show. It's being planned as a trilogy and will likely air on AMC. There were story ideas brewing that, as the years went on, seemed very compatible with continuing to tell the Rick story in another format that would allow him time with his family. "It is about who he is and who he's going to be - and certainly how he deals with the situation he's in". This may have looked grim for our hero, but now we know that the exit from the show was only to set up the beloved sheriff's introduction into a bigger cinematic universe. His story is only just beginning. Some stories will be standalone tales, while others will relate directly to characters in The Walking Dead series. "There's a lot of people that are still there, who were there on the first day, and that's an immensely moving testament to the show, really".More news: Victoria Beckham Breaks Silence as Spice Girls Tour Without Her Is Announced
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We had heard a few months ago that movies were the future of The Walking Dead and the Rick ones are just the start.
"Oversaturation is a word I've been thinking about".
This article contains spoilers for Season 9, Episode 5 of The Walking Dead. Let us know down below!