News broke this summer that Jon Bernthal would be returning for a cameo in the season 9 of The Walking Dead after the actor was spotted at Nic & Norman’s, the restaurant right near set owned by star Norman Reedus and EP Greg Nicotero. But Bernthal will not be the only former star to return.
During TWD’s Saturday panel at New York Comic Con, showrunner Angela Kang confirmed the Bernthal news and also revealed that two other former characters will be making an appearance in the first half of season 9. In addition to Bernthal’s Shane showing up, Scott Wilson’s Hershel and Sonequa Martin-Green’s Sasha will also be returning to the AMC drama.
All three characters were killed in epic fashion in their original run: Shane was stabbed by Rick (with zombie Shane then being shot by Carl), Hershel was beheaded by the Governor (with zombie Hershel then being finished off by Michonne), and Sasha sacrificed herself in a coffin en route to Alexandria in an unsuccessful attempt to take-out Negan. Whether the three are returning in flashback or vision form remains to be seen, as does the timing and whether their appearances will all coincide with Andrew Lincoln’s last episode as Rick Grimes. (It will also not be Bernthal’s first return to the show, as his character made a quick encore in a vision by Rick at Woodbury in season 3.)
Regardless, an emotional goodbye to Rick Grimes this season just appeared to add another necessary box — or three — of Kleenex to the proceedings.
UPDATE: An hour after the announcement of Wilson returning to the show, The Walking Dead comic book Twitter account announced the actor’s passing: “We are deeply saddened to report that Scott Wilson, the incredible actor who played Hershel on The Walking Dead has passed away at the age of 76. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Rest in paradise, Scott. We love you!”
Soon after, the TV show’s Twitter account released the following statement: “Scott will be remembered as a great actor and an even better person. The character he embodied on The Walking Dead, Hershel, lived at the emotional core of the show. Our hearts go out to his wife, family, friends and to the millions of fans who loved him.”
Wilson had already filmed his Walking Dead return before passing away.