That’s the story that almost brought the Internet to a standstill yesterday afternoon, when it was revealed that Jon Bernthal, star of Baby Driver and Marvel’s TV rendition of The Punisher, had agreed to reprise his role as the volatile Shane for AMC’s hit drama.
Details of his surprise return are naturally being kept under lock and key – chances are it involves some pre-apocalypse flashback to Rick and Shane’s friendship – though we’re now learning that Jon Bernthal himself will be present at The Walking Dead‘s SDCC panel next month, where his role in season 9 will be announced to the world. This appearance has also prompted rumors of an SDCC showcase for The Punisher season 2, but we’ll file that one in the rumor cabinet for now…
Whatever the case, Bernthal’s tenure on The Walking Dead dates back to 2013, when his Shane Walsh was killed at the hand of Carl Grimes – incidentally, this pivotal scene is also one of the first telltale signs that everyone is infected, given Shane returned from the dead despite having not been bitten.
The takeaway? Bernthal’s return to The Walking Dead will be limited to flashback, and we imagine AMC’s pool of creators plan to use his cameo during Rick’s final episode. Lauren Cohan, another longtime series veteran, will also be departing the series following the full-season pick-up of her new comedy series, Whiskey Cavalier.
So, yeah, The Walking Dead is on the verge of a new era, but first comes a series of heartrending farewells for Rick Grimes and Maggie Rhee. And if you’re wanting to catch up on AMC’s zombie epic before October, the Blu-ray of season 8 is expected to hit store shelves in August.