The Walking Dead Season 9 was already going to be an emotional journey, given it comprises Andrew Lincoln's final scenes as Rick Grimes. But it will also showcase what is potentially the final TV appearance of late actor Scott Wilson, who passed away this weekend at age 76. Thankfully, though, it has been confirmed that Wilson's Walking Dead return was completed before he died.
The timing of events here couldn't be more unfortunate, even with such a largely positive silver lining. This weekend, it was revealed by new Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang that Scott Wilson's Hershel Greene would be making a surprise return to that universe for Season 9, presumably in a flashback or dream sequence. He'll be joined by Star Trek: Discovery's Sonequa Martin Green as Sasha and the previously reported Jon Bernthal as Shane. (And possibly by Corey Hawkins as Heath, if that situation can be figured out.)
Scott Wilson's death, which resulted in complications from leukemia, had many fans wondering if his Walking Dead return would be even more abbreviated than what would would already expect from a cameo taking place four seasons after the character's death. But Hershel fanatics need not worry too much about sharing these final moments with Wilson's live-action patriarch, for they'll be seen in the episode in full, as confirmed by ComicBook.com.
It's also been confirmed that Hershel will be appearing in the first half of The Walking Dead Season 9, which means Scott Wilson likely filmed his scene(s) quite a few months back when production was going heavy on those episodes. He was hopefully feeling healthier and in good spirits at the time, unaware that his time would run out before the episode ever got to air. One would also wish that the actor was pleased with his performance and happy to be back on the set among some of his former co-stars. (Though there aren't very many left at this point.)
Season 9 will be going deeper into character development, as opposed to constant action and stress, which makes Hershel' return more timely than if it had happened in the middle of the All Out War. One assumption is that his arrival is meant to give Rick some peace of mind, either about his own impending death or about his legacy as a father.
The other assumption is, of course, that Hershel will be there to provide mental support to his daughter Maggie during this time of her life, and before Lauren Cohan takes her own Walking Dead hiatus. Maggie managed to rise to the top as the leader with Hilltop, even if she's not overwhelmingly happy about what had to happen to get her there. We all know that being a leader means wearing a giant target, so Maggie will face some of her biggest problems in Season 9. And nothing helps during a time of turmoil quite like the lovingly blunt advice that only a parent can provide. Even if that parent isn't physically around anymore.
With many new characters joining the returning vets, get ready for the final Hershel Greene scene when The Walking Dead Season 9 hits AMC on Sunday, October 7, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what other new and returning shows are coming to TV soon, head to our fall TV premiere schedule.