Last week’s San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) had several reveals for AMC’s long-standing franchise, The Walking Dead. One of the biggest was the news that the three-film arc starring Andrew Lincoln (Penguin Bloom) was no longer moving forward, according to Insider. The project was first announced in 2018 following Lincoln’s departure from the main series. A teaser was released the following year at SDCC.
What was originally set as a film on the network morphed into a trilogy produced by Universal Pictures and Skybound Entertainment for theatrical release. As recent as January of last year, plans were still moving forward with the first film to receive an R-rating, guaranteeing the same level of blood and dread long-standing fans had become accustomed to experiencing from the show.
“The Walking Dead Movie has to honor people who have invested the time in their lives and the show, but we can’t do that at the expense of inviting everybody,” TWD Chief Content Officer Scott Gimple (The Walking Dead: World Beyond) stated in 2021 via Comicbook. He believed the staunch rating was a way to honor the fans who had invested in the series since 2010.
Fast forward to this past weekend when Gimple was asked if the new series starring Lincoln and Danai Gurira (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) was going to replace the film slate, he simply responded: “Yes.” According to Insider, film development stalled after several scripts rewrites that even included TWD creator Robert Kirkman (Invincible). Fortunately, the creative team had been aware of the new series for a while, which is probably why its release date of 2023 is even possible.
“We all keep in touch, so we all talk all the time,” executive producer Greg Nicotero (Creepshow) told Insider. “So it was, you know, conversations about the movie, conversations about this.”
According to Insider, the new series has been described as follows:
This series presents an epic love story of two characters changed by a changed world. Kept apart by distance. By an unstoppable power. By the ghosts of who they were. Rick and Michonne are thrown into another world, built on a war against the dead… And ultimately, a war against the living. Can they find each other and who they were in a place and situation unlike any they’ve ever known before? Are they enemies? Lovers? Victims? Victors? Without each other, are they even alive — or will they find that they, too, are the Walking Dead?
Lincoln starred as Sheriff Rick Grimes from the show’s inception. As the world gradually collapsed underneath the spread of an infectious virus, he and a small group of survivors traveled throughout a very different Atlanta, Georgia in search of others, refuge, and possibly a cure. Gurira’s Michonne Hawthorne, the lone samurai sword-carrying survivalist, joined the original series near the end of season two. As a vital member of the group, Michonne became Rick’s second-in-command and eventual lover.
Fans haven’t seen Rick since season nine when he was presumed dead following a massive bridge collapse. Gurira’s Michonne, having faith Rick was still alive, found a possible clue and left the series the following season.
The Walking Dead returns for its final eight episodes on Sunday, October 2.