“The Walking Dead” is bringing back some more familiar faces for Season 9.
Series showrunner Angela Kang revealed at the show’s New York Comic-Con panel that former cast members Scott Wilson and Sonequa Martin-Green would appear in the new season, joining the previously announced Jon Bernthal. News of Wilson’s appearance in the series came at the same time AMC disclosed that the veteran character actor has died at the age of 76.
Wilson played Hershel, the onscreen father to Lauren Cohan’s Maggie. He joined the show in Season 2, with his character dying in Season 4 at the prison. Martin-Green played Sasha, who joined the show in Season 3 and died in the Season 7 finale in the fight against Negan.
Kang was mum on exactly how the actors would be worked into the show, but given that this season will also see the departure of Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, it is likely they will appear in flashbacks or in some kind of dream sequence related to Rick’s exit.
Saturday’s Comic-Con event marked Lincoln’s swan song with the show at a major fan-focused event. The panel quickly turned into a lovefest for the show’s longtime leading man. Panelists came out wearing Grimes’ signature Stetson hat in tribute to the British actor who has spent the past nine years commuting between the U.K. and Atlanta for production of the show.
Cast members and producers noted Lincoln’s intense preparation for big scenes, involving many cups of coffee and exercise regimens. And singing Coldplay at the top of lungs around the set. But Lincoln’s work ethic and attention to detail pays dividends for his coworkers.
“When you look into his eyes and you know he’s 120% with you, as an actor that’s the only safe place you can be,” said Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who co-stars as Grimes’ nemesis, Negan.
Norman Reedus recalled his friendly competition to pull pranks on Lincoln during production. Lincoln recently had Reedus’ muscle car wrapped in toilet paper while the two were on location. Reedus and exec producer Greg Nicotero found a way to tickle Lincoln’s bare big toe during one of his final big emotional scenes. But Reedus expressed his affection for his co-star too. “He set the tone,” Reedus said. “He’s gone but he’s not gone.”
Lincoln thanked his co-stars and the show’s ardent fans. The Theater at Madison Square Garden was packed with more than 5,000 attendees for the panel, which included a surprise screening of the “Walking Dead.” season opener. The new season bows Sunday.
“This interaction is one of the most unique and special things,” Lincoln said, gesturing to the crowd. He also reiterated that he never watches the show, although he saw part of his first episode earlier on Saturday. “I’m kind of allergic to my face,” Lincoln said.
Of his time working on the elaborate production in Atlanta, Lincoln said: “I’m going to miss the whole experience. I loved every minute of it.”