Every Major 'Walking Dead' Death Ranked ... So Far

This is SHOCKING. Warning: MAJOR 'Walking Dead' spoilers to follow.

Andrew Lincoln left "The Walking Dead" on Sunday night after eight and a half years on the AMC show, but his time playing Rick Grimes is hardly over.

In a shocking move, AMC confirmed the actor will continue playing the character for three feature-length, big-budget movies that will air on the network. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the first film will go into production next year.

The move allows Lincoln to spend more time with his family, with a production time of just two months compared to the nine months it takes for a full season of the show.

IYCMI, Rick didn't die on Lincoln's last episode -- though everyone thought he did after he blew up the bridge. Instead, he was saved at the last minute by Anne and whisked off to locations unknown in that helicopter we keep seeing but know absolutely nothing about. There was also one helluva time jump at the very end of the episode, suggesting everyone's moved on long past his supposed death (or, more accurately, disappearance).

At least, now, we'll know what happened to him, instead of wondering.

"There were versions [of the episode] that Rick wasn't going to make it. But thankfully it went this way," Lincoln told THR, admitting he would have left the show either way. "I know nothing! [Laughs.] There are lots of moving parts to this extraordinary franchise. But I hope we'll know more in the next couple of weeks."

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. "There is something exciting about moving toward an end game for Rick's story that appealed to me."

"The Walking Dead" airs Sunday on AMC.

View Photos AMC Behind the Scenes of Andrew Lincoln's Run on 'The Walking Dead'