We have a bombshell for zombie lovers out of San Diego Comic-Con: The Walking Dead is officially coming to the big screen. AMC, Skybound and Universal Pictures have revealed an ominous, brief teaser for the untitled Rick Grimes Walking Dead movie, which will bring back the character of Rick Grimes, portrayed by Andrew Lincoln. Not much has been revealed at this time, but we now know this is going to be a theatrically-released event.
The teaser truly is just meant to give a sense of atmosphere. We see a helicopter flying toward a city skyline. Dark and eerie score is playing in the background. Everything is cloaked in heavy shadow. We don't actually see any characters appear on screen. Then The Walking Dead title card is revealed, before the classic theme from the show kicks in. We then get the big reveal in the form of the massive tag at the end, which reads as follows.
"Rick Grimes Returns Only In Theaters."
Andrew Lincoln had been serving as the lead on the hit AMC series ever since the very first episode hit the air. However, last year, it was revealed that Lincoln was going to leave the role of Rick Grimes behind. Or so we thought. It turns out, they decided not to kill off Rick. Rather, he departed the rest of the survivors and is simply leaving the show behind. It was then revealed, following his final episode, that Lincoln would star in a trilogy of movies following Rick's adventures outside of the confines of the show. At the time, it wasn't clear what the strategy was for these movies. Now we know, and it's huge.
The fact that AMC has partnered with Universal Pictures to bring The Walking Dead to theaters shows huge confidence in the brand. This, despite the fact that the show has seen a massive decline in ratings in recent years. Robert Kirkman, who created the comic book series that the show is based on and serves as a producer, spoke during SDCC in an interview with Comicbook.com about the Rick Grimes movies and, while he couldn't say much, he had this to offer.
"I'm very excited. I can't say much, let me think about what I can say, but framing the story in a little different way, and telling the narrative in a more succinct [way], more spectacle possibly... I've already said too much. It's gonna be fun."
We, tragically, have far more questions than answers right now. Will other familiar characters from the show be popping up in these movies? Will the studios go out of their way to make sure people who don't watch the show can hop on and use these movies as a standalone entry point into the franchise? No matter what the case, this could very well be the most exciting, and certainly most sizable, development in The Walking Dead universe in a very, very long time. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details on the project are made available. In the meantime, be sure to check out the teaser from the Skybound YouTube channel for yourself.