What happened to the Walking Dead movies?

Rick Grimes holding a gun in The Walking Dead
(Image credit: AMC)

The Walking Dead movies are officially dead. But, in true zombie fashion, they have snapped back to life in a new form entirely. The trilogy starring Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes is now a limited series starring Grimes and Danai Gurira's Michonne.

So… what happened? Below, we’ll run through the story of The Walking Dead movies: the original outline, its potted history, and its eventual demise and rebirth as a TV series. Plus, for more on the main show’s television future, be sure to check out The Walking Dead season 11 return date.

 What happened to The Walking Dead movies?

Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead

(Image credit: AMC)

Originally envisioned as a trilogy, The Walking Dead movies were first announced in 2018 by chief content officer Scott Gimple. 

The first of the films was set to feature a look at where Rick Grimes was whisked away after his character left the show (via helicopter) in The Walking Dead’s ninth season. "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," read an AMC blog at the time, which has since been removed.

A teaser was unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, showcasing little more than a title card and the Philadelphia skyline, perhaps hinting at where the first movie was set to take place. 

Unfortunately, in the interim, COVID hit. 2020 came and went with a solitary major update from Gimple. He told Collider, "We're following the same general plan but movies take a little longer and we're playing with it in all sorts of directions. "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."

In 2021, Lincoln told sister publication SFX magazine that he was “not filming” anything to do with The Walking Dead movies at the current time.

Despite news of The Walking Dead movies coming in fits and spurts, The Walking Dead series (and its World Beyond spin-off) helped lay the groundwork for the story to come. Danai Gurira’s Michonne left the show (and Alexandria) in search of Rick after coming across a phone case seemingly left by her lover as a message to keep looking for him.

World Beyond, meanwhile, featured the last person to see Rick alive: Jadis. There, it was heavily implied that she handed over Rick as a “B” subject to the Civic Republic Military. What happened to him, however, was something that was never fully addressed. 

Finally, at SDCC 2022, news arrived that The Walking Dead movies had been canceled and replaced by a limited series about Rick Grimes. Lincoln and Gurira will both reprise their roles from the series. The show, which consists of six episodes, will air in 2023. No spoilers here but The Walking Dead season 11 (and series) finale helped set up the story to come. 

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.