The Walking Dead is a massive franchise, which has dominated Sunday night television for nearly a decade. AMC's apocalyptic drama had humble beginnings on the network, but soon grew to a phenomenon. The undead world has since expanded with the spinoff Fear The Walking Dead, and another series was recently announced to branch the property out more. Then there's Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes movie, which is actually getting a full theatrical run, rather than the made for TV treatment.
This announcement shocked fans at San Diego Comic-Con, and promptly broke the internet following the panel at Hall H. Cinephiles didn't expect The Walking Dead movie to make it to theaters, but it turns out that the untitled project may have been the subject of a bidding war. While Universal got the rights to the movie, AMC exec Josh Sapan recently revealed that that wasn't the only studio interested. As he put it:
There was interest fairly widely among studios to do [the movie]. [Universal’s interest] was not unique, singular, and therefore it is a representation and affirmation of strength of franchise.
Despite The Walking Dead's long tenure on the air, it seems the higher ups and the networks are secure that there's more life in the undead. Particularly because the Rick Grimes movie seemingly had more than one studio interested in bringing it to theaters.
This news comes from AMC's second-quarter 2019 conference call (via The Wrap), and there was no doubt plenty of news to report. Aside from the network's most recent performance, the Walking Dead franchise specifically made a bunch of very exciting announcements at Comic-Con. There were new cast departures and the upcoming third series, but the biggest news was about the Rick Grimes flick's future in theaters.
There weren't any specific studios mentioned, but news about the Walking Dead movie's bidding war could potentially mean big things for the property's future. If this first foray into theaters is successful, it doesn't seem out of the question to bring more zombie-centric projects to the big screen. As was the case with Andrew Lincoln, it presents the opportunity for actors who leave the show to remain in the mythos, and reprise their roles in an even bigger fashion.
Of course, these type of future opportunities will likely depend on the performance of the Rick Grimes movie. Bringing The Walking Dead to movies is definitely a risk, both creatively and financially. So if the developing project fails to deliver at the box office, this type of branching out might come to a screeching halt. Just take the Star Wars standalone films as an example; once Solo failed to make money, there haven't been any type of spinoffs announced.
Narratively, the sky's the limit regarding where Rick Grimes' movie might lead. And I mean that literally, as the character was last seen unconscious being boarded upon Jadids/Anne's Helicopter. Where he's going is a mystery, but smart money says he'll be transported far away from Alexandria and The Hilltop. And he's probably not going to be very happy about that.
Rick Grimes was written off of The Walking Dead last season, and it was a bold narrative choice. AMC's apocalyptic drama has always centered on Rick's experience as a protagonist, with actor Andrew Lincoln putting the full ferocity of his acting abilities on display for the near decade he spent on the small screen. Ultimately the flagship series seems to have improved after Rick's departure, although his absence was noticeable for the first few episodes after the character's "death."
Whenever and wherever Rick Grimes come to, he'll have only one ally in his new surroundings. Namely, the former Scavenger leader Jadis/Anne. After seeing her people massacred by The Saviors, Jadis dropped her monosyllabic alter ego, and was eventually welcomed to Alexandria. Throughout her most recent appearances, she got more comfortable with the other survivors, but held a secret walkie talkie that could communicate with a mysterious helicopter.
Anne eventually tried to hitch a ride, but found Rick Grimes' barely alive body after the big bridge explosion. She loaded him in to get the help he needed, but we haven't seen the pair of Walking Dead characters since their final scene in Season 9. And no one from the network or series has hinted at what might be coming next.
Rick Grimes had spent years fighting for his family, both chosen and blood relatives. So waking up in a new surrounding is going to be very jarring. Particularly, because he's got a wife and daughter who are mourning their loved one. Michonne was left to raise Judith throughout the Walking Dead's time jump, and she's grown into a capable young survivor.
That time jump seems to be the macguffin that could keep Andrew Lincoln from returning the Walking Dead TV series. The characters from the AMC show have long moved on since Rick's "death", so it's not like he could jump back into the story. The Rick Grimes movie would have to span a number of years in order to catch up with the show's current timeline. It's not out of the question, but the time gap is long enough that it could span multiple film releases.
Overall, there are a ton of questions surrounding the Walking Dead movie, including its release date, title, setting, and cast. There's been no indication as to when these pieces will come together, so there will no doubt be plenty of wild fan theories in the mean time. But if the first movie does well, it could mean big things for the property's future.
There are a bunch of layered characters who could pull of a movie. Most notable are Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan, who has gone from cocky villain, to prisoner, to uneasy ally of the group. Norman Reedus' Daryl Dixon has been a fan favorite for years as well, and seems like a prime candidate to carry a big budget movie. Additionally, Lauren Cohen has been missing as Maggie for quite some time, so a blockbuster might reveal what she's been doing with Georgie.
The Rick Grimes movie doesn't have a release date yet, but CinemaBlend will keep you updated on all the latest. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.