Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics, "The Walking Dead" reigns the number one drama on television among adults 18-49 for the last six seasons.
According to AMC, the first film will explore exactly where Rick is taken, and "what he faces in a new corner of the zombie apocalypse".
The British star has played police officer-turned-survivor Rick Grimes in the post-apocalyptic U.S. series since its inception in 2010.
The AMC series veteran has signed on to play the iconic character Rick Grimes in multiple feature-length projects in development at the cable network. "It's not the beginning of the end, it's the end of the beginning", Lincoln said. This feels a little late in the game to be expanding, but I'll let you folks that actually watch let me know what you think about this news in the comments.
Talking to The Hollywood Reporter, Scott M. Gimple, former showrunner on The Walking Dead and now chief content officer for the property, explains: "There is more story to tell and we'll be telling it".
'The story of Rick will go on in films, ' Gimple says.
This plan for three Rick Grimes-led The Walking Dead movies seems to fly in the face of Lincoln's final episode this past Sunday, which saw him nobly sacrificing himself for the camp by leading a group of walkers onto a bridge decked with dynamite. Gimple is now writing the first of the three untitled movies, with production set to begin in 2019.
I wanted to finish telling his story in the way that we began it: "with a filmic sensibility on a bigger scale and a more contained story - with an end point", he added.
It's not the only project now in development for The Walking Dead Universe, with Gimple set to roll out a multi-year plan involving films, specials, series, and other vaguely described "digital content".
London-born Lincoln, 45, announced his Walking Dead departure earlier this year and viewers have been waiting eagerly to see how his character leaves the show.
"But I'll just - it was the goodbye, the goodbye was wonderful, you know, 'cause it's everybody that's worked with me for - alongside the show, you know, for nine years". This may have looked grim for our hero, but now we know that the exit from the show was only to set up the beloved sheriff's introduction into a bigger cinematic universe.