Andrew Lincoln was last seen as Rick Grimes on AMC’s The Walking Dead at the end of Season Nine, shuttling away in a helicopter never to be seen again. It was a fantastic run on the show for a character who was dealt with every manner of heartbreak, sadness, cruelty, and torture. He lived heroically in a world overrun with zombies, and even worse with human evil. Lincoln’s Grimes was at the center of it all and it was a sad state of affairs knowing he would leave the show. That’s why recently The Walking Dead fans got more than a little excited that Lincoln could be returning to the small screen The Walking Dead universe.
The rumors began when Andrew Lincoln’s IMDb page included a listing for The Walking Dead: World Beyond. The now-removed listing showed Lincoln as having an appearance for Episode 10, “In This Life”, which was the Season One finale for the show. That listing, uncovered by some fans, lent many to think Grimes would show up in some way.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond timeline runs 10 years after the zombie apocalypse which would come close to overlapping the timeline set out in the original The Walking Dead. That is if recent fan-made timelines can be trusted with such a thing. Having Grimes appear in theWorld Beyond series would mean that not only did he survive the wounds he suffered (I think we can assume he did) but also is alive and well six years later. That latter part might be a bit of a stretch, though Michonne did find evidence that he was alive at the end of Season 10.
Regardless of this excitement though, the show’s executives were quick to shoot down the rumor saying the IMDb update was made in error or as a joke. There had never been any plan to include Andrew Lincoln in the show’s season finale. Somehow the IMDb page had been updated with erroneous information about the plans for the character and Lincoln’s acting schedule.
But that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the end of Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes. Reportedly there is a trilogy of The Walking Dead movies in the works and apparently we are going to see much more of Grimes. The Walking Dead executive producer Scott Gimple has said, “Andy (Lincoln) is heavily involved.” This makes too much sense considering the open-ended nature of Grimes leaving the survivors as well as the nod to Michonne leaving to find him. It only makes sense that this is where a movie would pick up or at least be included in the overarching narrative. Considering how easily and brutally the show has killed off characters in the past, leaving Grimes alive could only have been done on purpose with bigger implications.
But Andrew Lincoln isn’t the only one making news in The Walking Dead universe. Plenty of other characters could be heading to a film version or their own show. It was recently reported that Ezekiel would be getting his own The Walking Dead spinoff show. And that’s not all. Tales From the Walking Dead is in development as well as The Walking Dead: Daryl and Carol which would follow along with the two characters who’ve stuck around and survived from the beginning.
As far as the original The Walking Dead series is concerned, we are reaching the end of the show. While some thought the unofficial finale was when Andrew Lincoln actually left, the series continued for Season 10. Critical reception remained high with it sitting at 93% on the Tomatometer. But ratings dropped off considerably. After peaking at 14.38 million average viewers in Season Five, that number dropped to under 5 million in Season 10. On that, executives planned to make Season 11 the series finale.
Due to COVID-related production delays, The Walking Dead Season 11 doesn’t currently have a timeline for release. But again, fear not The Walking Dead fans. Though the head fake about Andrew Lincoln appearing on The Walking Dead: World Beyond turned out to be nothing more than a rumor or even an internet/IMDb hoax, we know we’ll get more of the character soon enough. Let’s assume Rick Grimes is alive and well waiting to reunite with Michonne on the big screen sooner than later.