The Walking Dead Will See a Very Familiar Face Return Next Season

Here’s a weirdly artistic picture of a zombie from The Walking Dead’s last season. Pretty, isn’t it?
Here’s a weirdly artistic picture of a zombie from The Walking Dead’s last season. Pretty, isn’t it?
Image: Gene Page (AMC)

The Walking Dead’s ninth season is going to be losing not one, but two of the show’s longest-running characters. But it seems that while doing so, a familiar figure from the show’s past will be making a special appearance on the series.

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Illustration for article titled iThe Walking Dead/i Will See a Very Familiar Face Return Next Seasonem/em

Over the weekend rumors started swirling about the return of Jon Bernthal’s Shane—Rick’s former police officer friend and onetime member of the post-zombie-apocalypse gang, before he was killed off at the end season two—would be making an appearance in the currently-filming season nine. This was mainly down to Bernthal being spotted on social media near filming alongside Andrew Lincoln (who stars as Rick, and is exiting the show six episodes into season nine) and Norman Reedus:

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But now both TV Line and The Hollywood Reporter are reporting that Bernthal is indeed making an appearance next season. According to the sites, Bernthal will appear in just one episode, which is likely going to be Lincoln’s final episode, given Shane and Rick’s past. It’s not the first time Bernthal returned from the Walking Dead grave after he was killed off—he appeared in one of Rick’s hallucinations in the third season. Plus it’s not like the show hasn’t used flashback sequences to bring dead characters back for a little bit before.

So while it’s not too surprising that Walking Dead is giving Shane a brief return, it’s nice to see the show preparing to roll out the gut-covered red carpet for Rick Grimes’ farewell.

James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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DISCUSSION

Pope Somhairle, Bishop of Evans, Pine, Hemsworth, Anti-Pratt

You know, I stuck this show out until the first half of season 8 ended. Even them, I’m stubborn and qualified my disdain with recaps and watching while sipping tea in the other room because there is a LOT to like in this show still, it’s just...

Shiva did me in. It wasn’t killing the tiger, it was the series of idiotic character decisions which led to it dying that finally took me out of the show enough to see how egregious it had become.

And then Carl. If Judith had been built for the last however many seasons, maybe losing Carl would have been fine, but it wasn’t fine. It made me angry that I had invested in this father and son story of survival, that was the clear main through line of the series for most people, the most obvious line you were supposed to follow from beginning to end.

And now Rick? Fuck you. Again, if they hadn’t destroyed Maggie at the end of this season, I may have jumped back in wholesale instead of doing this get-the-gist in and out thing I have been doing.

Same thing with Fear! It is a show which can genuinely br good when it wants, and then they killed Travis. That felt at least like a consequence of the plot and he certainly felt like less important to the narrative than Madison.

Then they killed Nick. No. Same thing as Carl. Madison and Nick were the Rick and Carl throughline.

It seems as though the people behind these shows have just started hating the audience. I don’t expect you to cater to me, at all. But they made a promise as every show does at the beginning, a thesis for the gist of the focus of the show, and purposefully, systematically destroying that is just giving a fuck you to your audience. Hell, there are a lot of ways they could have transitioned these characters out and refocused the show, but they chose to do it in the most damaging, least constructive manner they could. Enough is enough. I think that’s the end of things for me. The only possible solution is if Rick is banished somewhere and we know he survives along with Judith and Michonne. If they jettison the whole thing, that might work retroactigrly, but they don’t have the capital at the moment to get me to watch it in a way that will benefit their bottom line. And I truly hope others feel the same, because the point here is not about me, it is ultimately giving my perspective to try and convince others to stop as well. No showrunners should be able to keep doing this. They don’t deserve the revenue from your views, people.