The Walking Dead is typically good at resolving the fates of characters both minor and major, even if it takes a while for the writers to make good on that promise. Robert Kirkman revealed at New York Comic Con that the franchise has not forgotten a currently missing member of the group, Corey Hawkins' Heath, and has confirmed the still-presumably-living character could finally return to the series somewhere down the line. Kirkman talked about the potential future plans for Heath, and how they'd like to bring actor Corey Hawkins back to the show at some point:
Yeah, Corey Hawkins' star's on the rise. He's a fantastic actor, ended up on that 24 show, he's been busy. We are hoping to get him back and tell his story. There are plans in place there, we're just hoping schedules line up...We will eventually show his skeleton if we have to. I'm just kidding!
Robert Kirkman's joke at the end appears to mean The Walking Dead has something bigger in mind for Heath's story down the road. If they didn't, they could've shown a skeleton or some other obvious sign that Heath didn't make it out on his own, without the need for Corey Hawkins to appear on set. Hawkins has been busy since his days on the AMC show, and his latest appearance in the film BlacKkKlansman proves he's not slowing down anytime soon. As such, it could still be a while before Hawkins' schedule opens up enough for another Walking Dead appearance, and his star power in Hollywood might mean any re-emergence he'd make as Heath would be short-lived.
For those who can't remember what happened to Heath, the character was last seen with Tara fighting walkers back in Season 7. Both were getting overrun, but before Tara could come to Heath's aid, she tumbled off a bridge and touched base with the Oceanside posse. When Tara returned to her previous spot later in the episode, she found Heath's broken glasses and a badge that says "PPP," with the RV they were traveling in now missing. Robert Kirkman's statement to New York Comic Con attendees appears to confirm Scott Gimple's prior assertion that Heath isn't dead, and that there is more within his story they'd like to revisit.
If Heath's story is indeed picked back up, it seems probable whatever follows has to be tied to that "PPP" card that was left behind. The mysterious card Tara found was the subject of much speculation when it appeared, with various theories regarding its meaning popping up all over the web. Some believe it's a clue concerning where Heath is currently, while others have guessed it's a message tied to symbols used in music. Many others have just made memes and jokes about it, seemingly resigned to the fact that we may never know the outcome unless Corey Hawkins finds time in his schedule to return. Given one can never predict what the writers are planning, that might actually be the better option.
The Walking Dead returns for Season 9 and Rick's final episodes on Sunday, October 7, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Keep tabs on everything happening on television over the next couple of months by visiting and bookmarking our fall premiere guide.