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Three Walking Dead movies greenlit!

Tonight, Andrew Lincoln said goodbye to “The Walking Dead”.

Sorta. Kinda.

Careful not to kill off its central hero, Rick Grimes, the show let Lincoln exit the series in a non-traditional fashion – paving the way for a return. A return that has already been announced.

Shortly after the broadcast, AMC announced that Lincoln would be back in zombie-hunter guise for three “Walking Dead” telemovies.

Unlike the series, the films tell original Grimes stories and will encompass a bigger budget than traditional episodes. Scott M.Gimple is writing the first film.

“We have a lot on the horizon – starting with a new epic featuring one of the greatest leading actors in television history and one of the best people I’ve ever met,” said Gimple. “These films are going to be big evolutions of what we’ve been doing on the show, with the scope and scale of features. We’re starting with the first part of the continuing story of Rick Grimes, and there is much more on the way, featuring yet-unseen worlds of ‘The Walking Dead’ and faces from the show’s past, as well as new characters we hope to become favorites, told by TWD veterans and emerging voices. We want to break new ground with different, distinct stories, all part of the same world that’s captured our imagination for nearly a decade of the Dead.”

“They’re not just longer episodes,” the captain of the ‘Walking Dead’ world said, adding that Robert Kirkman is heavily involved.

Lincoln tells The New York Times that the films will largely be gritty, solo adventures for Grimes.

“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?”

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