‘The Walking Dead’ Universe Expands: What to Expect, From Spinoffs to the Rick Grimes Movie

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier in The Walking Dead
Preview
Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s The Walking Dead Universe Special Collector’s Issue, which is available for international pre-order online atTheWalkingDeadMag.com and is available nationwide on newsstands now.

Two more spinoffs and the highly anticipated Rick Grimes movies are shuffling their way toward screens… Here’s what we know so far:

Tales of the Walking Dead

The dead will live to die another day! While the original drama is ending, there’s fresh meat ahead. Each stand-alone hour (or storyline arc of episodes) in this upcoming AMC anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead is set within the same nihilistic universe we’ve come to love. Best of all, many of the new stories, reveals TWD chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, “came out of fans’ questions [about living in a walker world]: Who would I be? What would I do? What would my town, country or city look like?” That notion inspired “new characters and mythologies, and the feel of different genres and places in the timeline.” But Gimple also says we’ll see existing “familiar faces and places” in Tales. Some fans theorize that means revisiting faves who were killed off.

The Walking Dead

Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Details on production are slim, with no premiere date, casting or shooting locations announced at press time, but the story’s comic originator, Robert Kirkman, has said it’s “very much underway.” So at least you can picture a creative team somewhere (in a bunker?) busily figuring out new ways to scare us silly, and more important, get us instantly invested in new characters, or reinvested in well-remembered ones. Because, let’s face it, that quirky band of beautifully realized individuals who never would have met pre-apocalypse is what kept us coming back. Adds Gimple, “This show has been about the living.” — Kate Hahn

Carol and Daryl Hit the Road

A pair of beloved TWDU heroes will soon be heading back into action—side by side. After The Walking Dead’s 11th and final season signs off, a sequel planned for 2023 will star deeply bonded zombie apocalypse survivors Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) on new adventures as they try to stay alive, find shelter, execute hordes of the undead and keep their frequent disagreements from tearing them apart. Talk about familiar terrain!

You might call the spinoff about the (so far) nonromantic best friends fitting, since both characters—on the front lines of the original series since Episode 3—have consistently fallen at or near the top of multiple critic and fan-favorite lists.

While most details are still TBD, expect the sequel to be “more of a road show,” says Angela Kang, the Walking Dead exec producer who has been tapped as showrunner. Perhaps the conversation between the best mates in the 10th season premiere—about taking Daryl’s bike and “heading west”—foreshadowed a fresh way of telling the “Caryl” tale.

“One of the things the audience loves about these characters is the incredible transformations that they’ve had,” says Gimple. “I think people will dig that we start these characters on another journey of evolution and [show] how they evolve further under very different circumstances. They’ve changed a lot, and it will be extreme to see them change more.” — Ileane Rudolph

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead

Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Where the heck is Rick Grimes?

The Walking Dead’s conflicted hero Rick Grimes will ride again, with actor Andrew Lincoln starring in a new movie franchise coming soon-ish to theaters (our own real-world plague delayed production). “These are going to be big evolutions of the show, with the scope and scale of features,” promises Gimple, who’s writing the scripts along with series veterans and new voices. Elements, he has said, include “yet-unseen worlds of TWD, faces from the past and new characters.”

It’s been three years since we last saw the onetime sheriff’s deputy turned survivalist leader. He departed in Season 9 (after losing his best bud, wife, son and countless friends over the years) with a classic heroic act—he blew up a bridge to save his group from walkers. Everyone thought he died, but mysterious rescuers airlifted him by helicopter, leaving him in a now-unknown destination. A teaser trailer for the films hints at a possible locale as a chopper approaches what looks like the Philadelphia skyline. Will Rick reunite there with lover Michonne (Danai Gurira), who in Season 10 found a phone with his name scratched on it and left to search for him? No matter what, Lincoln has registered his excitement: “I can’t wait to get those cowboy boots!” — Kate Hahn