When The Walking Dead movies were first announced, the Whisperer War hadn't begun, the mainline show had no end in sight, and the concept of a Coronavirus probably sounded like a new b-story arc for season 10. But, after all that the show has had thrown at it over the last two years, Rick Grimes' cinematic trilogy is still going ahead, and there's a chance we could even be treated to as first taste of it later this year.
For now, we've catalogued everything we've learnt so far about The Walking Dead movies into this handy overview, which we'll continue to update whenever any fresh information arrives out of AMC, or indeed any other sources. From potential release dates to the nature of Rick Grimes' much-heralded return, read on below to answer all your burning questions about The Walking Dead movies, and more.
The Walking Dead movies release date are 2021 at the earliest
While AMC hasn't provided any indication of when it plans to release The Walking Dead movies, franchise chief content officer Scott M. Gimple told Collider in October 2020 that pre-production on the trilogy was still ongoing, COVID be damned.
"We're following the same general plan but movies take a little longer and we're playing with it in all sorts of directions," said Gimple. "And then, the pandemic happened, which gave us the opportunity or the necessity to do that We're still doing that. Andrew [Lincoln] is super involved. [Robert Kirkman] is super involved. It really is proceeding. It's just that current circumstances have given us a little extra time that we seem to need anyways. We really want to do it right."
So, no, filming on the movies hasn't even started as of this Holiday, but given how well equipped AMC is for tight turnarounds on The Walking Dead anyways, that doesn't leave a 2021 release date out of the cards just yet.
The Walking Dead movies trailer suggests we're heading to Philadelphia
Released at last year's San Diego Comic-Con 2019 convention, The Walking Dead movies teaser trailer is very much an exercise in understatement, offering nothing more than a title card, preliminary art work, and the promise that Rick Grimes will be returning. However, that skyline seen in the background shouldn't be passed off as a mere stock photo, but potentially provides a glimpse into the location of Rick's whereabouts, and the main backdrop for the movies themselves.
Compared side by side, it's clear that this is the skyline of Philadelphia, the largest city in the US state of Pennsylvania, just north of The Walking Dead season 10's setting of Virginia. If that's the case, then perhaps Rick Grimes isn't as far away from his family as we first thought, meaning there's every chance he could one day return to be reunited with Daryl, Judith, and the rest... provided he makes it out of these movies in one piece.
The Walking Dead movies will finally reveal more about the mystery of Rick Grimes (and that damn helicopter)
AMC confirmed back in 2018 that The Walking Dead movies will pick up the story of Rick Grimes where season 9 left it, after the character was picked up half dead by the helicopter that has been appearing on and off throughout the show for the last decade. Alongside him is Pollyanna McIntosh' Jadis, who appears to be on relatively friendly terms with the mysterious community, but that's all we know about them for now.
An AMC blog announcing the news confirmed that "the first film [in the trilogy of Walking Dead movies] will explore the story of where Rick is taken and what he faces in a new corner of the zombie apocalypse", with Scott Gimple calling them big evolutions of what we’ve been doing on the show, with the scope and scale of features." What can be bigger than thousands of zombies on screen at once? Guess we'll have to wait and see.
The Walking Dead movies are already being set up in The Walking Dead season 10
The Walking Dead Japanese phone mystery: Here's what it means, and how it connects to AMC's wider universe
Before we get into this, consider this your spoiler warning as we discuss key story beats that have taken place in The Walking Dead season 10 so far. Happy to get into it? Okay, good. In The Walking Dead season 10 episode 13, Danai Gurira bows out of the show for good, after her character Michonne discovers Rick's boots (and a sketch of herself and Judith on a mobile phone) in a boat washed ashore on Virgil's island.
Naturally, this sends her on the hunt to find her long lost lover, several years after the events of his assumed demise in season 9, suggesting that the katana wielding queen of Alexandria could also be making an appearance in The Walking Dead movies herself.
What's more, The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang confirmed to Insider that the Japanese message seen next to the picture translates to "believe a little longer", teasing it as "a hint at some larger story that took place." Scott Gimple also told Talking Dead (via ComicBook.com) that "both Rick Grimes and Andrew Lincoln would not give up those boots very easily", suggesting that the sheriff is potentially captured against his will.
That would at least explain why Rick still hasn't returned to Alexandria, but we're gonna need more to go on than that. Hopefully the show will continue to shed new light onto the whereabouts and status of this cowboy killer as it goes on but, for now, the mystery of the missing Rick remains shrouded by several unanswered questions...
For more, check out all the new TV shows hitting your small screen in 2020 and beyond.