Several weeks after word broke out that lead actor Andrew Lincoln was leaving The Walking Dead at some point in the upcoming ninth season, more rumors have surfaced that another show veteran is returning to the post-apocalyptic world. According to TVLine, actor Jon Bernthal will return for one episode in Season Nine as Shane Walsh, former best friend of Lincoln’s Rick.
“The rumors are true: Walking Dead alum Jon Bernthal will reprise his role of Shane Walsh during the zombie drama’s forthcoming ninth season, TVLine has learned. Although an AMC rep declined to comment, sources confirm that the Punisher actor will appear in one episode.
Bernthal was written off The Walking Dead near the end of Season 2 when Shane was fatally stabbed by his onetime BFF Rick (Andrew Lincoln). His character returned for an episode in Season 3 when he appeared as a figment of Rick’s imagination. Conventional wisdom suggests that Shane will either turn up in another hallucination or in a series of pre-death flashbacks.
Speculation about Bernthal’s return gathered steam over the weekend when a fan spotted him hanging out with fellow Walking Dead cast members near the series’ Georgia set (scroll down to view the evidence). His comeback also coincides with (unconfirmed) rumblings that Lincoln will depart the AMC hit during Season 9, allegedly after appearing in only a half-dozen episodes. To compensate for the possible loss of its leading man, AMC is reportedly looking to give Norman Reedus (Daryl) a “substantial” pay boost to stick around.“
Personally I can’t say much on the matter. I think Jon Bernthal is an awesome actor, so any chance the world gets to see more acting from him is awesome. That said, while I own the first several volumes of the original graphic novel series, I have to admit that I’ve never really watched The Walking Dead. I’ve seen the memes, I’ve observed my dad go from loving the show to hating it over the course of a few seasons from the sidelines, but I’ve never actually watched the show for myself.
But what do you all think? Are you excited to see Shane return? Be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments section down below!