Though The Walking Dead will soon return for the rest of its extended tenth season, it will once again do so without the presence of former star Andrew Lincoln, whose exit in the first half of Season 9 occurred all the way back in November 2018. Around the same time, news broke that AMC would be producing a trilogy of movies focusing on Lincoln's Rick Grimes and everything that happened after that fateful helicopter trip. The spinoff projects still haven't started filming yet, but as fans can see in the video above, the actor is more than ready to fill those shoes again. Literally.

CinemaBlend spoke with Andrew Lincoln alongside Naomi Watts for their upcoming Netflix drama Penguin Bloom, which will begin streaming on Wednesday, January 27. Given the all-around lack of zombie apocalypses in that movie, though, our own Sarah El-Mahmoud asked Lincoln if he was ready to return to the Walking Dead universe. For those who didn't watch the video, here's his enthusiastic response:

I can’t wait to get my cowboy boots on again, is what I’m saying. I want to get my cowboy boots on, and my steps-in, and rid the world of the zombie hordes. All of the guys, every time a new season starts in the TV show, they are like ‘Come back. Come on!’ I [left The Walking Dead] largely because my kids were changing schools and I wanted to be home and parent and all that. My kids don’t want me 'round anymore; they’re too busy with their friends. I’m ready to go. So yes, in short, I can’t wait to get the script and get going.

So just in case anyone thought that Andrew Lincoln might be reluctant about getting back into walker-demolishing form as Rick Grimes, let Andrew Lincoln's words soothe you. He is absolutely ready to reprise the role that turned him into a global superstar, and we can only hope that whoever his captors were allowed him to keep his cowboy boots on. Let's not forget that Pollyanna McIntosh's Jadis had stripped him of all his clothing whenever she Rick-napped him, so it's possible his footwear situation might be jacked up.

andrew lincoln rick grimes on a horse the walking dead season 9 premiere

Even beyond any inherent fictional bloodlust that may exist within Andrew Lincoln's soul, the actor's readiness to return stems in part from his decision to leave the show in the first place. At the time, he talked about how The Walking Dead's production schedule in Georgia had taken its toll, and he wanted to take some extended time to return to the UK and live a somewhat traditional life with his wife and children. But now that his kids are a little older and less interested in hanging out with their big poppa, he feels comfortable getting back into horror hero form.

Of course, there has to be a horror movie for Andrew Lincoln to actually return to in the first place. It seems like that might be happening, though, with the first presumably R-rated feature expected to begin filming this spring. Co-screenwriter and former Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple previously stated that the pandemic delays have allowed for the storytelling to get a lot tighter, and the delay has also allowed for the Fear the Walking Dead and World Beyond spinoffs to expand their ground-laying narratives involving the CRM and their outposts, while also hinting at Rick's whereabouts.

Obviously, The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes movie doesn't have a release date set in stone just yet, and hasn't revealed any further casting, and hasn't quite offered up a detailed synopsis just yet. But it's still happening! And Andrew Lincoln is excited! And so are we! So that's something.

While waiting for that, don't forget about Penguin Bloom hitting Netflix on Wednesday, January 27, and also don't forget about The Walking Dead's return to AMC on Sunday, February 28. What are you guys most excited to see from Andrew Lincoln's TWD return?

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