Jon Bernthal has made his big return to television by starring in The Punisher. But it looks like he’s not truly done with The Walking Dead after all.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bernthal will be returning as Shane Walsh in Season 9 of the AMC show. Rick Grimes killed the former police officer character in Season 2, which really set multiple things in motion. The death revealed that dead humans come back as walkers, given Shane did so before Carl shoots him in the head.
Shane’s return will reportedly be for only one episode. Bernthal was photographed in Senoia. Georgia with Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus, according to Entertainment Weekly. The short reunion isn’t surprising since Bernthal is already a series regular on his Netflix series. Chances are the return of this character has to do with Lincoln’s exit from the zombie series.
The star is leaving the show, according to ComicBook.com. This isn’t totally surprising as the actor has hinted that he is looking at different options for his future. “I’ve said to you before and I really feel that the fans — and also for my own satisfaction — that there deserves to be an endpoint,” Lincoln told The Hollywood Reporter There needs to be an end game and that is something that is definitely being talked about. [Laughs.]”
Comic book creator, Robert Kirkman, has also been upfront that he plans to kill Rick Grimes in the comic and the show. He previously told The Cheat Sheet, “Well, the series is going to go on for a very long time. He’s going to die eventually. I think most people are going to die eventually in the book so I don’t really think of it as that much of a spoiler. I think it’s very important that the audience know that no one is safe.”
There are many other actors on the chopping block. ComicBook.com also said Danai Gurira and Lauren Cohan are reportedly leaving the show. Gurira’s exit isn’t much of a surprise as she recently played Okoye in the Marvel hit, Black Panther. Cohan’s character, Maggie, may have seen the consequences of Steven Yeun’s departure from the show.
The show’s changes for the upcoming season isn’t just in front of the camera, but behind it as well. Angela Kang replaced Scott Gimple as the show’s showrunner. AMC promoted him to chief content officer after the fan backlash toward him over Carl Grimes’ surprising death. Kang does give some optimism around the change given she’s behind some of Daryl Dixon’s best episodes so far and he will most likely play a bigger role in the show.
There is still so much we don’t know about the upcoming season, but there will be a time jump. Season 9 will pick up two to five years later. So the death of Carl won’t be as fresh for our favorite characters and the show can try to move beyond it.
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