So let’s talk about these Rick Grimes movies you all are going to be doing. What can you tell me?
It is really important for the audience to know that we are going to be continuing to tell the story of Rick Grimes in these AMC Studios original films. We don’t want this thing to be like, “Oh, well, he’ll be back on the show any moment now.” We are telling Rick’s story in another medium, and it’s going to be these AMC Studios original films. They’re going to be on AMC, most probably. They’re centered around Rick Grimes. We’re going to tell the story of what happens after that helicopter flight, and these are going to be big, epic entertainments. Each are quality films. That’s what’s been happening in the industry. We’ve seen Netflix make these, basically, studio films for people to watch in their homes, and we’re going to be doing the same sort of thing here.
Any time frame you guys have for filming these and getting these on the air? What is that looking like?
I am extremely hard at work on the first one right now, and most likely filming next year, though I’m freaking out about deadlines right now, so I’m not going to tell you exactly when because it will only make me pass out. But it really is going to be sooner than later. On the flip side, these are not going to be made on television schedules. This is going to be on feature schedules, and they’re going to be big, so they’re going to take a minute to make.
Will they be filmed down in Georgia during The Walking Dead hiatus in filming? Do you plan on using a lot of the same crew?
No, only because we need everybody making The Walking Dead. Walking Dead has a lot of big stuff going on, and we’re going to be continuing to make that show. Also, he’s flying off in a helicopter, away from Virginia, and it’s going to be a new world — aa very new situation with its own history, and very, very different from what we’ve seen before.
Does this mean Jadis is moving over to this movie franchise?
She is on that helicopter, so that would be a yes.
How many of these movies are we talking about?
We are talking about a trilogy for this Rick Grimes story. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the only Rick Grimes stories we’re ever going to tell, and also they’re probably not going to be the only movies that we tell. The Rick Grimes story, of course, is the biggest thing that we’re doing right off the bat, but we’re going to be doing a number of different Walking Dead things over the next few years. A universe of stuff. We’re not going to release it all at once. We’re going to be putting things out over the years for maximum effect. We don’t want to overwhelm folks with it.
But we’re going to see all sorts of different Walking Dead projects in all sorts of ways with old standbys, with new voices, which is really important to me. And they’re all going to be very different and distinct from the shows. We have this one show amazing show that is showing the beginning of its civilization, and we have this other show with these folks who are trying to make up for the things that they did. We’re going to be having different entertainments, different narratives within The Walking Dead. Different tone, different characters. We’re also going to see old characters — review some content with old favorites. We get to revisit them and see stories of their past that we might not have shared before.
When you talk about old favorites, are you talking about characters that have gone off the show or maybe didn’t make it along the way? When you say stories of the past, do you mean we could be going back and seeing prequels and sequels?
Well, both actually. We’re going to see the past, we’re going to see old characters. We’re going to move into the future with new characters. We’re doing films, we’re doing specials. We’re going to be looking at new series. And even just different expressions of series — not necessarily 16 episodes. We might be doing some mini-series. We’re looking at different ways to tell stories. It’s very important that these be distinct from the other two shows or they really won’t be worth doing. We want to answer questions that the audience had all along. We want to see just different parts of the world. We really want to expand out the breadth of what The Walking Dead can be.
I know things are so up in the air with Lauren Cohan depending on what happens with Whiskey Cavalier, and other things of that nature. Is it a possibility that maybe a Maggie movie could potentially be something that we might see at some point?
That is absolutely a possibility. I will say that Angela and I and others really want to see Maggie back on the show. We have a lot of story for her that we want to tackle and we’ve talked about different ways we can do it. That said, if Whiskey Cavalier lights up the world, we’re still going to do Maggie stuff. We’re just going to figure out different ways to do it. It might be me shooting Lauren in between scenes of Whiskey Cavalier, of Maggie in a post-apocalyptic Prague [where Whiskey Cavalier is filming].
Finally, are you an A or a B?
Oh, dear. Hmm. You know, I would say I’m a B. I would say I’m a B. I’d like to think of myself as an A, but I’m a B.
Also make sure to read our chat with Andrew Lincoln, where the star explains how and when the plan came together for the films, and showrunner Angela Kang’s intel on Rick’s last episode and that time jump shocker. And for more Walking Dead scoop, follow Dalton on @DaltonRoss.