WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 9 episode "What Comes After," which premiered Sunday on AMC.
Andrew Lincoln may have exited AMC's The Walking Dead with Sunday's episode, but the character's story will continue in a trilogy of original movies for AMC.
In order to draw a walker herd away from the communities, Rick had to blow up the bridge leading to Alexandria. He was found, barely alive, in the aftermath of the explosion by Jadis, who sought help from the mysterious helicopter that's been flying around this season, and they were both taken away. According to The Walking Dead chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, these big-budget, feature-length TV movies will explain what comes after.
"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," Gimple told Entertainment Weekly. "We don’t want this thing to be like, “Oh, well, he’ll be back on the show any moment now.” 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," he added. "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."
In terms of a potential timeline for these movies, Gimple continued, "I am extremely hard at work on the first one right now, and most likely filming next year, though I’m freaking out about deadlines right now, so I’m not going to tell you exactly when because it will only make me pass out. But it really is going to be sooner than later. On the flip side, 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."
Airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC, The Walking Dead stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.