AMC said Sunday that it planning a series of TV movies, which will be part of "The Walking Dead" universe.

The announcement came moments after Andrew Lincoln's, widely publicized, last appearance as Rick Grimes on the zombie-apocalypse show.

The gravely wounded Grimes was last seen being rescued by Jadis, played by Polly McIntosh, and a mysterious helicopter crew.

Where they were going and who was transporting them was not revealed by the end of Episode 5, Season 9.

A time jump of several years was, however, suggested in the show's final moments.

The cable network said the TV movies it is planning will star Lincoln as Grimes and be written by Scott M. Gimple.

"It's not the beginning of the end, it's the end of the beginning," Lincoln said in a statement.

He added: "And I like the idea that we get to tell a bigger story, maybe with a sort of wider vista. And I've always been interested in what's going on out there, you know, whether or not there is contact with the wider world. I want to know the meta of it all. And I suppose to be able to kind of touch upon that in a contained story for me is a very exciting proposition ... Maybe it's the start of a bigger story."

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Production on the first film is to begin next year.

"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," said Gimple.

"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 favorites."

Photo credit: The Walking Dead/AMC