With The Walking Dead season 10 starting next week, it feels like we’re getting closer to fresh information about the Rick Grimes movie trilogy, the first of which should be released next year (though we don’t have an official release date at the time of writing).
When Lincoln left the show, he hinted at the movie’s existence, which helpfully gave us a production timeline. “Everybody thinks I’m a sociopath because I’m not breaking down at every interview. But the truth is that I know that there’s something happening next year,” he told The New York Times.
That was in late 2018, so ‘something happening’ probably means filming will start before the end of 2019 with a release in 2020 the most likely outcome.
As for what it’s actually about, we’ve been given very little information, but that hasn’t stopped fans from creating a whole bunch of theories.
Here’s our take on the most likely possible plots for the first film and beyond.
They’ll fill in the six-year gap
According to former showrunner Scott Gimple, the trilogy’s story will be told over ‘years.’ That seems a bit obvious, movie trilogies are generally released over a period of years, so it could be that he’s talking about the narrative itself.
That would fit in with fan theories that the movie trilogy will fill in the gaps left after Rick left the show when the series had a six-year time jump.
There’s plenty of story to tell there, it’s a long enough period to go beyond the promise of three Rick Grimes movies, with Gimple hinting that they won’t limit themselves to a trilogy.
The three-ring group mystery will be solved
This is the most obvious plot point, for the first film at least. We’ve had little information about the owners of the helicopter with the strange three-ringed logo that saved Rick, though Fear The Walking Dead fans actually have more knowledge than people who just watch the main show.
In season five, episode five of Fear, ‘The End of Everything’, we met one of the masked soldiers from the three rings, named Isabelle, and she gave us a load of exposition about the group.
“Everything I do is to ensure there’s more than stories left after I die,” Isabelle said. “It’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than you, it’s bigger than all of us… We are a force who are not living for ourselves or for now. We have the future.” Their mission is “rebuilding what we all once had,” no matter what the cost.
They’ve got cool weapons, and gnarly outfits – which just so happen to look like the uniforms from the Commonwealth era of the comics.
The A and B mystery will be solved
One other thing we know about the three-rings group: they’re a human-trafficking organisation, with potential ‘victims’ labelled as being either ‘A’ or ‘B’. We don’t know how they differentiate between the two, but some fans have theorised that As are leaders and Bs are followers.
But it’s actually a little more interesting than that. In season eight, Jadis locked Rick in a shipping container marked ‘A’ before making him fight a zombie. In season nine, after Jadis decides to save Rick, she describes him as a ‘B’ to the helicopter team, which suggests that Bs are more valuable – and protected. Of course, she could be lying.
“The container he was in was marked with an A, so Rick is clearly an A,” The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang said. She also said when Anne told the helicopter Rick was a B, that statement was “perhaps a lie.”
Some fans believe that ‘A’ means infected, and ‘B’ is uninfected. Whenever Jadis labelled someone an A (Rick, Negan, Gabriel), she’d go on to try to engineer a zombie bite. Could the three-rings group consider freshly infected and completely uninfected people valuable in different ways?
“There’s only one place left for me to go,” she said when trying to infect Gabriel. “And you’re the price of admission.”
Rick will go to a different country
“The first film will explore the story of where Rick is taken and what he faces in a new corner of the zombie apocalypse,” AMC said in a press release.
“He’s flying off in a helicopter, away from Virginia, and it’s going to be a new world — a very new situation with its own history, and very, very different from what we’ve seen before,” Gimple told EW.
Both of these suggest Rick will be going on quite a journey in that helicopter, and some fans have theorised the movie will take Grimes out of America for the first time post-crisis.
It’s logical – Rick’s so family-focused it’ll take a pretty great distance to stop him from immediately going back to Michonne, Judith, and the son he doesn’t know exists, especially after six years. But if he’s overseas, that’ll close up a significant plot hole.
The guest stars
Of course the movies will have plenty of guest stars, and fans have been furiously speculating about who those stars could be.
When Danai Gurira announced that the next season of The Walking Dead will be her last, she gave an emotional farewell.
“I can confirm this is the last season I’ll be on this amazing TV show as Michonne,” Gurira said. “I would just like to say this has been one of the purest joys in my life. I am very, very thankful for the experience I’ve had in ways that I can’t even express right now.
“My heart does not leave… it doesn’t ever end, the connection between us never ends. It was a very difficult decision. It was about my calling and other things I feel called to… as a creator of work. All I’m filled with is a lot of pain about leaving and a lot of gratitude.”
It’s interesting that she specified ‘on this amazing TV show,’ as opposed to ‘The Walking Dead.’ That’s probably because she’s almost certainly going to appear in Rick’s movie.
Partly because the couple didn’t get a proper goodbye on the show, partly because she’s the mother of a son Rick doesn’t know exists, and partly because Danai Gurira was in Black Panther, one of the biggest blockbusters of 2018, when all of these spin-off movie plans were being made.
Gimple would be mad not to use her, just has he would if he didn’t use Norman Reedus’ fan favourite Daryl, who we’re pretty sure will also appear.
On the show, Daryl’s the only character who refuses to move on from Rick’s death, and he’s the only one who believes he’s still alive. That flame of hope wouldn’t be still flickering if the writers didn’t plan on bringing Daryl back into Rick’s world.
Oh, and Heath’s been confirmed as having been taken by the three-ring group, so it would make sense for him to appear in the movie, too.
Fear The Walking Dead season five ended on a cliffhanger for a major character, could he also end up getting scooped up by a three-rings helicopter?
Rick’s legacy will be secured
The three-rings group appears to be focused on ‘the future,’ with the mission of creating a better world. This ties in nicely with Rick’s arc in the comics, which is now complete, with the character’s death leading directly into a shock final issue of the series.
That final issue made it clear that the comic has been about Rick’s legacy. On the show, Rick’s ‘death’ hasn’t lead to the establishment of a better world, it’s actually got worse, with the Alexandrian alliance falling apart.
The three-rings group’s mission seems to tally with Rick’s motivations, but over the years Grimes has encountered several groups that seem nice at first but quickly reveal themselves to be evil, so how easily will he trust them? And should he?
We imagine that’ll form the main thrust of the character’s arc over the first movie, with a greater threat expanding the cinematic universe further.
Could Rick head to the Commonwealth to discover a fairly massive research operation that’s trying to find a cure for the zombie virus?
Is that where the As go to, with the Bs going into the main community? And could As and Bs clash in a spectacular enough fashion to justify putting the show onto a cinema screen? Could Rick ultimately use their resources for good, with the help of Michonne and Daryl? We’ll find out next year…
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