Rick Grimes lives — and he’s returning to the Walking Dead Universe.
Four years after Andrew Lincoln confirmed his exit from The Walking Dead during the show’s Comic-Con panel in 2018, AMC announced Friday that Lincoln is reprising the Rick Grimes role opposite Danai Gurira as Michonne in a six-episode limited series on AMC+. The news broke at the zombie drama’s final series panel inside Comic-Con’s Hall H in San Diego, where the network revealed the full-length trailer for The Walking Dead: The Last Episodes, the eight-part finale concluding the series this October on AMC. The Walking Dead is ending, but Rick’s story is not over.
The development comes nearly four years after Scott Gimple, the chief content officer of AMC’s Walking Dead Universe, announced that Lincoln would star in a series of AMC Studios Original Films continuing the story of Rick Grimes.
Gimple described the Walking Dead trilogy as “big evolutions of what we’ve been doing on the show, with the scope and scale of features,” the first film exploring the story of where Rick is taken and what he faces in a new corner of the zombie apocalypse. That film was expected to begin production in 2019.
That same year, a cryptic teaser trailer released at Comic-Con announced the Rick movies would play “only in theaters,” with Universal Pictures boarding the universe expansion from AMC Studios and Skybound.
In Lincoln’s last episode of The Walking Dead, the mortally wounded Rick disappeared when Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) shuttled him away aboard a Civic Republic Military helicopter. The Walking Dead: World Beyond, a limited series co-created by Gimple, later confirmed that Jadis traded Rick to the Civic Republic in Pennsylvania, although Lincoln did not appear on the spinoff.
Following a time jump, more than six years have passed since Rick went missing in the Season 9 episode “What Comes After.” Rick was presumed dead after he blew up a bridge to save his family and friends from a walker horde, leaving Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) unable to recover his body.
Reedus has hinted that his own Walking Dead spinoff, the as-yet-untitled Daryl Dixon solo series that will be filmed and set in Europe, could connect to Michonne’s search for Rick after Gurira’s open-ended exit from the flagship in Season 10. Reedus recently told Iron & Air: “Some of our characters are lost, and maybe I’ll run into one or two of them.”
The Walking Dead: The Last Episodesbegin Sunday, October 2 on AMC and AMC+.