Spoilers below for the latest episodes of The Walking Dead, so reading on without catching up would be ill-advised.
When The Walking Dead came to a close with "What Comes After," the entire fabric of the show had changed, thanks to a time jump and a helicopter ride. According to showrunner Angela Kang, the latter is indeed the answer to one of the zombie drama's biggest overarching questions: what happened to Corey Hawkins' Heath? It turns out Heath actually was part of Jadis' trade system with the helicopter pilot. Kang says that's been the plan all along, for the most part.
That was kind of the intention that we had in the back of our heads this whole time. Even back in that season where you know we had to write the wonderful Corey Hawkins out because he had huge opportunities in the feature film world... those seeds were already set there.
Fans will remember back when Season 6 started up, The Walking Dead introduced Corey Hawkins as the comic fan-favorite Heath. It was a pretty big deal at the time, since Hawkins was coming off of a big win with Straight Outta Compton. But the actor's career boom was detrimental to The Walking Dead overall, with his casting in 24: Legacy throwing a giant wrench into the works.
In the episode "Swear," one of the series' more reviled installments, Heath straight up vanished during Tara's untimely voyage to Oceanside. It hadn't made much sense at the time, since he hadn't been shown coming into contact with anyone. Plus, other than the "PPP" key card that Tara found at the scene, Heath's disappearance never got addressed within the show itself, without any characters voicing concern or questioning what happened.
Now, Angela Kang has confirmed a line of theorizing that some fans had latched onto as soon as it became clear what Jadis' connection to the helicopter was. As someone who got into the habit of trading survivors for supplies, Jadis technically had a major impact on the show's events more than a season before we actually met her. (Kinda like Negan, but not quite.)
But now that we know how Heath disappeared, we only have more answers for The Walking Dead's creative team. Such as, "Is Heath an 'A' or a 'B' in terms of his helicopter labeling?" Also, "Where was Heath taken?" The one that everybody really wants to know, probably, is "Will we ever see Heath again?"
That answer is just as up in the air as everything else, but Angela Kang definitely wants to make it happen. Here's what she told Business Insider.
I hope so, too. He's a wonderful human being and a terrific actor.
Thanks to that last-minute capper introducing Magna and her comic book crew, The Walking Dead TV narrative took a massive six-year leap forward. As such, these characters are 180 degrees from where they were in those early Alexandria days, and it's extremely unlikely that Heath will just pop back around looking for his RV. Yeah, that's the very same RV that Jadis was driving around in, which was a major clue.
So if Walking Dead fans ever do come across Heath again, it probably won't happen on the flagship TV series. Thankfully, though, Scott Gimple recently announced the franchise is expanding like never before, with a wealth of new live-action projects in the works. That includes several standalone features centered on Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes, who made his own TV series departure in "What Comes After."
If Rick is indeed heading to the same place that Heath was taken, then we might end up seeing an aged-up Corey Hawkins walking around whatever location that will be. (And possibly Georgie and Maggie and others.) But let's not rule out Heath's entire ordeal getting showcased for a single standalone special, or even a short-form miniseries.
At this point, the live-action character isn't viewed nearly as favorably as his comic counterpart is, so it's hard to say how happy and excited fans would be to see Heath return in some way. But even if we never see him again, at least we finally have some confirmation about what happened.
Could Heath get addressed on the show soon? Find out when The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. Our fall TV premiere schedule will loop you in on other shows that may have disappeared from your primetime viewing in recent months.