It may be true that we haven't seen the last of Rick Grimes, but we've certainly seen the last of him on The Walking Dead TV show. AMC had been touting the departure of Andrew Lincoln as Rick from the hit series as a major selling point for viewers. This past Sunday's episode, What Comes After, gave Rick his send off. Though, it wasn't what many were expecting. Despite the fact that it's certainly possible, from a storytelling perspective, Lincoln has declared he will never return to the series.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead season 9, episode 5. What was revealed during the latest episode is that Rick didn't actually die. Though, he did venture off on his own and the series will carry on without him, while also taking a major leap forward in time. Andrew Lincoln, meanwhile, is set to star in a trilogy of Walking Dead movies taking place in the same universe. So, it was only logical to assume that maybe Rick would return at some point down the line to the series. However, in a recent interview, Andrew Lincoln put any hope of that happening to bed. Here's what he had to say.
"I can categorically say that I will not be returning to the TV show."
That's the end of that. While it's certainly plausible, from a storytelling standpoint, to have Rick return to the show, it would seem to cheapen what was accomplished in the latest episode. And AMC also needs to really see if the show, and any future spin-offs they are planning, can survive without its former star. They apparently have plans for The Walking Dead that extend out as far as a decade.
But the story of Rick Grimes is far from over. These movies that Andrew Lincoln will star in are going to be more than just longer episodes and will offer the actor a chance to tell a very different kind of story. As for what they're going to be about? Lincoln can't say much right now, but he did offer a little tease, comparing the tone to that of a classic Clint Eastwood western.
"We talked about 'Unforgiven,' the Clint Eastwood movie, which I admire greatly. There's something about Eastwood, who he is as a gunslinger, as an iconic kind of American hero, rolling around in pig swill at the beginning of the movie. You know what he's capable of, and I thought the idea of a character that the audience knows and has lived with, and who has oscillated between psycho and father for nine years, to start in a completely different place, was a really interesting, crazy place to begin. I want to know why we keep seeing helicopters flying around. What's going on? What have the grown-ups been doing while we've been scrambling around in the dirt?"
That certainly sounds promising. Production on these movies is set to begin in 2019, but no release date for the first of them has been announced by the network just yet. The Walking Dead, sans Rick Grimes, will continue Sunday, November 11 on AMC. This news was first reported by The New York Times.