Jon Bernthal To Return To 'The Walking Dead'

Jon Bernthal will return to ‘The Walking Dead!’ ‘The ‘Punisher’ star will reprise his role as Shane on the heels of Andrew Lincoln’s decision to leave the show.

While AMC has offered no comment on the development, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Bernthal will return to the long-running zombie drama for an episode in the ninth season. Bernthal played police officer Shane Walsh in the first two seasons of the show. Shane eventually bit the bullet while fighting with Rick Grimes (Lincoln), his former fellow officer and longtime best friend. Shane then came back as a walker, only to meet his end again at the hands of Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs).

While the details of Bernthal’s role in the upcoming season have not been released, it is safe to assume that he will appear mostly in flashback sequences. Though most of the people who were connected to him before the zombie apocalypse are dead, it’s hard to tell who would be thinking of Shane at this point.

Shane’s return won’t be the only change coming to ‘The Walking Dead.’ The series will undergo a handful of creative changes ahead of Season Nine with the biggest one, of course, being Lincoln’s departure as he has played Rick Grimes since the very first episode of the series.

Lincoln’s Grimes is set to be phased out during the ninth season. Last year, Lincoln spoke about the decision, saying:

“There needs to be an end game and that is something that is definitely being talked about.”

In a later interview, he said:

 “There’s certainly an endgame in my head. Whether or not that’s the same endgame that’s in the producers’ heads or the people I work with is another matter. That’s open for discussion.”

It has been said that Lauren Cohan (Maggie) will also exit the show in Season Nine, as she just landed a lead role on ABC’s midseason drama ‘Whiskey Cavalier.’ Cohan has played Maggie since Season Two and is expected to return for a few episodes in Season Nine before bowing out.

Another change coming to the ninth season has longtime showrunner Scott M. Gimple taking on a new position overseeing the entire ‘Walking Dead’ franchise. Showrunner duties will fall to Angela Kang, who has been with the series since season two.

‘The Walking Dead’ Season Nine should premiere on AMC in October.