When it was announced that Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) would be exiting AMC‘s long-running horror/drama series The Walking Dead before season 9’s mid-season break, showrunner Angela Kang promised there would be major changes to the series and it looks like some of those changes are happening in the bank accounts of two – possibly three – major names in the Walking Dead universe.
Series mainstays Norman Reedus (Daryl) and Melissa McBride (Carol) have reportedly received new contracts from AMC. The comprehensive deals would be for three years, and would cover the entire Walking Dead franchise – including spin-off series, movies, etc. Based on reporting from The Hollywood Reporter, the actors would also continue to be paid even if their characters are written off completely.
● Reedus: $350,000/episode, with additional guarantees and advances in a deal that could make the deal worth between $50 million to $90 million
● McBride: Estimated $20 million over three years
“The deals that we made for Norman and Melissa are franchise deals. Our deals with Norman and Melissa allow us the flexibility to either move them or use them in more than one place, depending on what seems creatively right to Scott and to his partners.”
“We do look at this as a universe where we’re trying to expand into as many different places as the show fits. We think this is a franchise that could live across formats. So, we want to do it carefully; we want to be strategic; we want to try to do it right. But there is a multi-year plan that could include additional series, digital content and specials.”
– David Madden, President-Programming, AMC
Meanwhile, Danai Gurira (Michonne) is currently negotiating a new deal with AMC that would be able to keep her with the franchise while giving her the ability to act in other projects (for example, Black Panther) and continue her work in the theater (she wrote the Tony-nominated Eclipsed).
“She has been very vocal about saying that she loves the show. We love Danai; we love that character. Right now, she’s got a lot of opportunities and she needs to weigh what she feels is best for her. But we certainly would want her on the show as long as she wants to be on it. We really want her to stay. She is an incredibly valuable character and I’m really hoping she stays. Obviously, the lesson of Andy is that the show can survive anybody’s departure if need be but that’s not our goal. The goal is to have Danai continue on whatever basis she can make work, given the other things that she has going on in her life.” – Madden
Skybound’s chief content officer for the Walking Dead franchise Scott M. Gimple announced on Sunday’s episode of Talking Dead that they would begin producing new series, digital content, miniseries, and other projects that focus on old, current, and future characters. The initiative begins with Lincoln, whose Rick Grimes survived the ending of ‘What Comes After’ only to “fly off into the sunset” of his own big-budget, feature-length movie trilogy for AMC.