CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

'The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live': Everything to Know About the Latest Spinoff

Find out when to stream and more details on the upcoming series following the continued adventures of Rick Grimes and Michonne.

Aaron Pruner
Aaron Pruner is an actor, writer and dad living in Los Angeles. His words have appeared at places like The Hollywood Reporter, Playboy, Inverse, The Washington Post, and Rotten Tomatoes. Fun fact: Aaron once played Charlize Theron's nerdy boyfriend in a Japanese Honda commercial.
Aaron Pruner
6 min read
andrew lincoln as rick grimes sits against a brick wall with blood smear on his face
AMC Networks

The Walking Dead is the story universe that keeps on ticking. Premiering to AMC on October 31, 2010, the six-episode first season brought the zombie horror genre to television. Inspired by the long-running comic book series by Robert Kirkman, the show brought audiences into the post-apocalyptic world of Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and the rest of this formidable evolving crew of survivors as they strived to keep humanity and civilization alive amid a terrifying undead reality. 

Five spinoffs have aired since the original series' premiere. Fear The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, Tales of the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon all added to the story canon in their own ways and have ultimately paved the way for the latest -- and perhaps, most anticipated -- spinoff series to date: The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live. 

The relationship between Rick Grimes and Michonne helped lay the emotional foundation for The Walking Dead. In a world immersed in death, their love story regularly brought a much-needed human element to the series and kept the story stakes steadily high. When Lincoln exited the series in season 9 (which aired in 2018), followed by Gurira the following year, it was clear the series run may be nearing its logical conclusion. 

In 2018, a 10-year programming plan was announced to keep the Walking Dead universe growing on TV and in movie theaters. Scott Gimple, who was bumped up from showrunner to chief content offer, soon announced a Rick Grimes trilogy of movies to keep that story going. Three movies soon became one, with plans for a big theatrical release

By 2020, those plans changed yet again. 

After the COVID-19 pandemic and the industry-wide production shutdown, the big screen movie project evolved. What was once pictured as three movies centering on Rick turned into a limited six-episode series following Rick and Michonne, thanks to an original story idea brought to Gimple by stars Lincoln and Gurira. 

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live will continue Rick and Michonne's epic love story through the next stage of their lives. Here is what else we know about the upcoming series, including the release date. 

Release date for The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live on AMC Plus

andrew lincoln as rick grimes sits against a brick wall with blood smear on his face
Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who live will premiere the first episode of its six-episode season on Sunday, Feb. 25 on AMC and AMC Plus. Much like the original series and its spinoffs, fans can expect these new episodes to run roughly 40-50 minutes in length.

Titles for the first three episodes contain a hidden message of sorts, referencing to the first season's pilot episode, Days Gone Bye, symbolically bringing things full-circle:

1. Years

2. Gone

3. Bye

If you want to watch the flagship series to catch up on things before this spinoff premieres, all 11 seasons are available to stream on Netflix. 

The spinoffs Fear The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, Tales of The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: Dead City and The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon can be streamed any time on AMC Plus.

What is The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live about?

terry o'quinn as major general beale
Gene Page/AMC

After leaving the series, Lincoln and Gurira reprised their roles of Rick Grimes and Michonne in the series finale of The Walking Dead in 2022. Rick presumably died in season 9 after blowing up a bridge that connected the communities to save his crew from a horde of walkers. He didn't die, but Michonne and the rest thought he did. Instead, viewers watched as Rick was rescued by Anne (aka Jadis) who ushered him via helicopter to safety. 

The series finale showed Rick wearing a CRM military jacket while on the run. Rick threw a bag containing his boots, his phone and journal into a boat before he got caught. Michonne found that exact bag in season 10, which brought the jaw-dropping realization that her husband may actually still be alive. This discovery prompted her exit from the flagship series and set up this new narrative journey we'll find her on in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.

"This is essentially the DNA of the original episode which was a man in search of his family," Lincoln explained during the show's presentation at the 2024 Television Critics Association winter tour. "That DNA is very much in this story, but we wanted to sort of make it a bit more operatic and, hopefully, shade in a universe about what the grownups have been doing while we've been scrabbling around in the dirt for, you know, 10 years."  

The Civic Republic Army (aka CRM) was first introduced in season 8 of The Walking Dead before appearing in multiple episodes of Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond. They are the installation that controls the Civic Republic, an authoritarian civilization that will be a big threat to Rick and Michonne in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.

As dire and dangerous as things may get in this new series, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live is an epic love story at its core. When the world is upended and civilization is in shambles, can two disconnected soul mates find each other amid all the chaos? 

Gurira called it "an apocalyptic epic love narrative."

"The idea of the epic love story aspect is what distinguishes it from many other renditions of this world, and it was very much something that we didn't get to fully explore a ton on the mothership," Gurira said. "There was just no space for it. When love is the driving force, when it's the propelling thing in a show, when it's actually the thing that's making the plot move, what does that look like?"

Who stars in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live?

danai gurira as michonne stands in forest and holds sword handle
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Joining Lincoln and Gurira in the series is an ensemble of mostly new faces. Lesley-Ann Brandt plays Pearl Thorne; Matthew August Jeffers is Nat; Terry O'Quinn steps into the role of Major General Beale; Andrew Bachelor will play Bailey; Craig Tate is Lt. Col. Donald Okafor; Breeda Wool is Aiden and Pollyanna McIntosh reprises her role as Jadis Stokes.

Notably, Lincoln and Gurira don't just lead The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, they're executive producers on the series. Gurira expanded her creative responsibilities further by writing and directing an episode, as well. 

"It was really an interesting time period because I got to see the good, the bad and the ugly," Gurira explained during the show's TCA presentation. "Stepping into the sort of leadership role as an EP/co-creator taught me a great deal, as well. I'm really in the trenches."

From working with budgets to wearing multiple caps on the set, Gurira called this "a deep learning experience." Lincoln added, "To be producing, writing, and starring in her own episode? She did a formidable job, and it was beautiful."

Will there be more The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live on the way?

It's clear that Scott Gimple isn't finished telling stories in The Walking Dead world. The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon got a renewal for a second season, which will bring Melissa McBride's Carol into the narrative fold. Previously, fans watched Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie venture to the ravaged streets of New York to save her son Hershel (Logan Kim) in The Walking Dead: Dead City.
What will the future of those characters hold? And more to the point, will there be more Rick and Michonne after this season airs?

"Anything is possible," Gimple told members of the TCA. "We're focused on this one right now, but this one came together in a really amazing way where there were all sorts of plans, and the world changed, and we altered those plans, and we wound up with something we really liked." 

When you look at all the different TWD spinoffs, it's hard not to wonder if these characters will reunite once more. Could an Avengers-style crossover event bring survivors from The Hilltop and Alexandria back together again? Gimple has some ideas.

"When it comes to something like that, I do have dreams of merging this all together," Gimple added, "and I have laid little breadcrumbs towards that. But you never know exactly when and how, because of a variety of reasons. Dead City is a vibrant show, Daryl is a vibrant show and this one is. I will just say I'm building those pathways. But there could be all sorts of pivots along the way that change it or just do it in a different manner."