Long time The Walking Dead cast members Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira wowed fans at Comic-Con on Friday with a surprise appearance at Hall H—teasing an upcoming limited series that will wrap up story arcs for their respective characters of Rick Grimes and Michonne.
The Walking Dead Universe’s Chief Content Officer Scott M. Gimple will serve as showrunner for the series, with Lincoln and Gurira as EPs. The show is set to launch with six episodes next year.
The latest TWD spinoff will present an epic love story of two characters changed by a changed world. Kept apart by distance. By an unstoppable power. By the ghosts of who they were. Rick and Michonne are thrown into another world, built on a war against the dead… And ultimately, a war against the living. Can they find each other and who they were in a place and situation unlike any they’ve ever known before? Are they enemies? lovers? Victims? Victors? Without each other, are they even alive — or will they find that they, too, are the Walking Dead?
Originally, the plan was to wrap up Rick’s story in a stand-alone film at Universal; sources say the studio had been talking to Craig Zobel to direct. But Lincoln confirmed today those plans have been shelved and the network is now closing his story with the series. “I can’t wait to get my cowboy boots back on,” he said.
Nearing the end of its 11th and final season, The Walking Dead is the first series in a post-apocalyptic zombie franchise, based on Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard’s comic books of the same name. In it, survivors of an apocalyptic event grapple with an almost constant threat of attacks from zombies, referred to as “walkers,” amidst a collapsed civilization.
Lincoln’s character is a sheriff who led the show’s pack of survivors for his first nine seasons. He’s presumed dead by members of his clan as of Season 9’s fifth episode, “What Comes After,” after blowing up a bridge with dynamite to stave off hordes of walkers. While he subsequently disappears, we eventually learn that he has, in fact, survived, as he helicopters off with Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) and her allies.
Gurira’s Michonne is a katana-wielding survivor first introduced in Season 3 who joins Grimes’ group and eventually falls for him, becoming a surrogate mother to his kids. The character last appeared in Season 10, setting off to find Rick after learning he may have survived his near-fatal Season 9 injury.
“This is a moment fans of The Walking Dead have been waiting for since Rick disappeared in the helicopter early in Season 9, and Michonne journeyed away on a quest to find him the following season,” said Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks. “What a great surprise for the fans at this final Comic-Con for the series that launched this universe and made television history. We couldn’t be more excited for a truly epic series finale later this year and to see Andy and Danai return in a new series they helped create, one of three new series coming in 2023 that continues the stories of so many iconic and fan- favorite TWD characters.”
“Rick and Michonne are two of my favorite people and Danai and Andy are two of my favorite people,” said Gimple in a statement. “Working with all of them continues to be a dream come true. The three of us, along with a terrific team of TWD all stars and incredible new voices, are crafting an insane love epic worth the long, long wait.”
Said Lincoln in his statement: “This has been the most extraordinary journey playing Rick Grimes for the best part of a decade. The friendships I’ve made along the way are deep and lasting, so it’s fitting that I finally get to complete the story with Danai and Scott and the rest of the TWD family. I’m so excited to be returning to the screen as Rick, reuniting with Danai as Michonne, and bringing the fans an epic love story to add to the walking dead Universe.”
Added Gurira: “Michonne and this TWD family has meant so much to me, and to continue the journey of these beloved characters, alongside Scott and Andy, both creatively and in front of the camera, and bringing The Walking Dead fans something truly special is just glorious. I can’t wait to pick up the katana again.”
Lincoln and Gurira were in San Diego today for the final Hall H bow of The Walking Deadwhich returns for its final set of eight episodes this fall after more than a decade on the air. Other projects in the works at present, as expansions of The Walking Dead universe, include a Europe-set spinoff centered on Norman Reedus’ Daryl, and the offshoot Isle of the Dead, which has Morgan and Lauren Cohan reprising their respective roles as Negan and Maggie. Both are scheduled to premiere in 2023.