Andrew Lincoln is returning to the zombie powerhouse AMC hit series The Walking Dead, which he appeared in for nine seasons. His return, though, won’t be on the small screen, but in an upcoming feature film.
The official announcement came back in November 2018 from The Walking Dead’s chief content officer Scott Gimple, who has also penned many episodes of the zombie series. The plan was to start production on the Andrew Lincoln-led Walking Dead movie in 2019, but this never materialized. Then coronavirus threw everything into a tailspin, leaving fans to wonder where that Civic Republic Military helicopter took a gravely injured Rick Grimes in his final episode. There has been plenty of fan speculation, but producers of the series have remained tight-lipped about the whereabouts of Rick and Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh), who also flew off in the helicopter.
Earlier this month, it was Andrew Lincoln himself who revealed that now the plan is for a spring 2021 production start date on the film. He told the Associated Press, “It does feel like there is a certain sense of positivity and the cavalry’s coming with the vaccines,” Lincoln said. “And there’s a real sort of sense of a renewal, hopefully.”
Speaking this past July during a virtual Skybound Xpo call via ComicBook, The Walking Dead’s executive producer David Alpert said that the Andrew Lincoln-starring film was moving along but also noted that, “We can’t shoot right now, so that’s just the big thing holding us back. We are desperate to get back into production and get everything going, but we have something really exciting, really unique, really different, and can’t wait to get it going. We just have to wait for it to be safe.”
Twitter even had its say when The Walking Dead’s own account asked its followers, “What are you most looking forward to in 2021?” The one response that caught a lot of attention came from series director Rosemary Rodriguez who replied with, “Finding Rick Grimes on the big screen! #TWDFamily.”
But not all are satisfied with Rick Grimes returning just for a feature film. Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon, is just one of Andrew Lincoln’s former co-stars who would like to see him join The Walking Dead’s 11th and final season, in addition to starring in the feature film. The actor even went so far as to call up Andrew Lincoln and discuss, well attempt to, that very fact.
He told RadioTimes, “You know, I was teasing him the other day on the phone. I was like, ‘You’re coming back for this last season, right?’.” But Reedus explained although he asked the questions, Lincoln remained famously mum about anything concerning his Walking Dead future. “He’s like, ‘Uh…’ you know, he won’t say anything. He won’t commit. But it’s very Andrew Lincoln to try to pull a fast one on me. So I don’t know. I have no idea. I literally don’t know. I wish I knew. And I have a big mouth, so they probably wouldn’t tell me!”
Gimple also told ComicBook that Andrew Lincoln is ready to return to his role as Rick Grimes and that the plan is still set for the first Walking Dead film to get a theatrical release. “Because we work in television, we thought we would be working on the second one right now. Movies take a long time, but it’ll be worth the wait. It is moving forward,” Gimple informed fans. “The COVID time kind of slowed things down anyways, but we’re using that time to go back to the lab and make it as great as possible … it’s happening.”
It seems like both The Walking Dead team and fans are ready for the return of Rick Grimes. If things start going as planned, we might see Andrew Lincoln on the big screen as soon as 2021.