The Walking Dead actor Andrew Lincoln to star in spin-off films

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"The Walking Dead" had been billed as the last appearance by Lincoln on the mothership series.

While Andrew Lincoln's time on The Walking Dead came to an end tonight, this isn't the end of Rick Grimes' story. Which answers the question to Sunday night's episode, titled "What Comes After", pretty clearly. "For me to want to do a limited number of episodes [of The Walking Dead] a year wouldn't feel like I was doing my job properly because playing this part has been so all-encompassing".

And it's not The Walking Dead didn't have the ideal opportunity to send Rick off right; blowing up a bridge with a single shot from his trusty pistol and sending 10,000 walkers to their fiery doom would have been a fitting end for the one-time sheriff-turned-survivalist-turned-post-apocalyptic-leader. Then we fast-forward six years and see a 10-year-old Judith Grimes, wearing Rick's sheriff's hat. Gimple stated they'd likely be shooting it next year, meaning we likely wouldn't be getting anything until 2020. "We appreciate [Andy's] leadership", he says through a mustache that has to be seen to be believed, "but... he's a really bad actor". In that sense, Rick Grimes' final episode is no easy viewing material for longtime fans, but I have faith that this is exactly the kind of emotive shakeup that The Walking Dead has always been in need of. It would have been a fitting death for Rick, coupled with some badass last words, "I got 'em". Either way, we're pretty excited to see Rick's next steps.

The first film will explore where Grimes was taken and "what he faces in the new corner of the zombie apocalypse", AMC said.

These films, with the first beginning production in 2019, will be the first projects of Scott Gimple's "Walking Dead Universe", which is elaborated on a bit in the press below.

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"I want to know why we keep seeing helicopters flying around", said Lincoln. This show is notorious for stringing fans along, and AMC certainly plays a part in that with how The Walking Dead is marketed.

We had heard a few months ago that movies were the future of The Walking Dead and the Rick ones are just the start.

"It's a promise of more story, but I suppose cliffhangers in general are looked upon a certain way". I wanted to finish telling his story in the way that we began it: with a filmic sensibility on a bigger scale and a more contained story - with an end point.

Gimple's plans for expanding the Walking Dead universe don't seem to be limited just to full-length films, either.