Regardless of its ratings decline, The Walking Dead is still AMC’s golden child. That means it's not at the point of gimmickry yet, so likely won’t be bringing characters back from the dead. But that's obviously not the only way a familiar face could return.
So when a few fans saw Jon Bernthal, who played Shane Walsh on the show, on set in Senoia, Georgia, as the zombie drama shoots its ninth season, the speculation of “why” can assume that it won’t be for a twisty return.
Update: The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Bernthal will be returning to the show for one episode next season, though the circumstances of Shane's appearance are still unknown.
Update #2: As per Deadline, Bernthal will likely also be making an appearance at The Walking Dead's Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con.
These pictures showed up on Instagram and Facebook, showing Bernthal (in the background of the former) and former co-stars Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus getting coffee and checking out Reedus’ and exec producer Greg Nicotero’s Senoia restaurant Nic & Norman’s.
Take a look:
Before fans’ theories go off the deep end, keep in mind that the cast has been friendly since the start and this might be nothing more than a casual visit. It’s also not unprecedented for producers to prank speculating fans by bringing former stars or actors whose characters should be in different continents on set. So before getting too set on your ideas for Season 9, take it with a grain of salt.
That said, with Season 9 marking Lincoln’s departure from the series, it would make sense that the star would have various flashbacks to important points in his life/tenure on the show. That means Shane could be appearing simply to deliver some advice, closure, or commentary from the past. Or they could have just been getting some burgers.
The Walking Dead will return to AMC for its ninth season this fall.