The rock band Kiss is making headlines this week as ticket sales open up for their “End of the Road” final tour; but longtime fans of group recall their “Farewell Tour,” which concluded in 2001. Some felt misled when the band walked back their retirement declaration and began playing shows again just two years later in 2003. Not enough time passed between the farewell and the return for everyone to be on board. Well, The Walking Dead, has Kiss beat in this regard, as Chief Content Officer Scott Gimple announced Andrew Lincoln’s return to the franchise as Rick Grimes just minutes after the credits rolled on his highly-publicized departure from the franchise!
On the Talking Dead episode immediately following Sunday night’s “Farewell, Rick!” episode of The Walking Dead, Gimple confirmed again that the episode marked, “the end of Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead.” However, moments later he explained that Lincoln will return as Rick Grimes for original films which will continue his story:
“This is not going to be the end of Rick Grimes’ story… there’s a lot of story to tell.”
Gimple’s words on Talking Dead were reinforced by a new interview on Entertainment Weekly, which was posted to their site at 10:08 PM… 8 minutes after the episode’s credits rolled on AMC:
“It is really important for the audience to know that we are going to be continuing to tell the story of Rick Grimes in these AMC Studios original films.”
It was really important for the audience to know this… after the episode aired apparently. Otherwise, the “Rick Grimes’ Final Episodes” marketing campaign- which launched in early September- wouldn’t have packed quite as much as a punch!
Gimple elaborated on these upcoming The Walking Dead films in the new EW interview:
“We are telling Rick’s story in another medium, and it’s going to be these AMC Studios original films. They’re going to be on AMC, most probably. They’re centered around Rick Grimes. We’re going to tell the story of what happens after that helicopter flight, and these are going to be big, epic entertainments. Each are quality films. That’s what’s been happening in the industry. 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.”
So, there you have it: Andrew Lincoln exited the television show, The Walking Dead, as Rick Grimes on November 4th at 9:58 PM, and it was announced that Andrew Lincoln will return for television movies of The Walking Dead on November 4th at 10:08 PM! This has got to be a new record. When will these original films hit the airwaves? According to Gimple, “it really is going to be sooner than later.” The plan is to film the first one next year, but “these are not going to be made on television schedules. This is going to be on feature schedules, and they’re going to be big, so they’re going to take a minute to make.”
Stay tuned to Horror News Network for complete coverage of upcoming departures and simultaneous returns of The Walking Dead characters as soon as it breaks!