The following article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 9 episode 5 aka Andrew Lincoln's last episode.

The world of The Walking Dead is set to expand even further with the announcement of a series of special TV movies focusing on past and present characters.

Speaking on the Talking Dead aftershow, The Walking Dead's former showrunner and newly appointed Chief Content Officer Scott Gimble revealed the exciting news. However, if you have yet to see the most recent episode that handles Andrew Lincoln's (Rick Grimes) exit from the show, this is your last chance to avoid any spoilers. Seriously, this is your last chance as we're about to get into spoiler territory.

After months of knowing The Walking Dead's leading man was departing the series, the curtain finally came down on Rick Grimes as he seemingly sacrificed himself to take out a herd of zombies. However, that was just another fake out as the closing moments of the episode revealed that Rick had survived his ordeal and was carted off in a helicopter to an unknown destination.

"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. 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 favourites, 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."

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not sad that Rick's death was a fake-out, not all fans agree, but this opens up a host of exciting prospects for the main series, Fear The Walking Dead and the spin-off movies. The Walking Dead has become a shadow of its former self with the last couple of seasons coasting on fumes. Only when it's about to 'kill off' one of the main characters does the show become more like its relentlessly tense and terrifying old self. That said, there is already an overwhelming amount of backlash from fans for not killing Grimes off as the previous episode indicated.

Production on the untitled Rick Grimes TV movie is set to start early next year for a summer 2019 launch on AMC. The Walking Dead season 9 continues in the UK on Fox.