Warning: There are spoilers ahead for season nine, episode five of “The Walking Dead,” “What Comes After.”
While “The Walking Dead” family is wondering how the AMC series will go on without Rick and Maggie, the show gave a subtle answer to one of its biggest plo tholes on Sunday’s episode: What happened to Heath?
Sunday’s “Talking Dead” confirmed Anne’s junkyard escape vehicle was the very same RV Heath was last seen driving before mysteriously disappearing on season seven, episode six. INSIDER asked showrunner Angela Kang whether or not Heath was also taken by the helicopter which whisked Rick away and if Anne traded him to them for supplies.
“That was kind of the intention that we had in the back of our heads this whole time,” Kang told INSIDER of whether or not Anne traded Heath to the helicopter people. “Even back in that season where you know we had to write the wonderful Corey Hawkins out because he had wonderful opportunities in the feature film world… those seeds were already set there.”
Heath’s character was out on a run with Tara during season seven when the two were separated and he was never seen again. The series handled it in such a strange way. Tara never mentioned Heath’s disappearance and no one ever attempted looking for him on the show. It was as if he was never there. A big character in Robert Kirkman’s comic series, who’s still alive, it felt like a giant oversight and remained one of the series’ largest plot holes.
Since then, a major theory was that Heath may have been taken by the helicopter crew. The RV was previously spotted in the junkyard where Anne/Jadis resided.
While Heath left the show, Hawkins worked on several high-profile movies, including “Straight Outta Compton” in the lead role of Dr. Dre, “Kong: Skull Island,” and “BlacKkKlansman.” He also took on the lead of Fox’s short-lived “24: Legacy” series.
Since then, former showrunner Scott Gimple has said Heath would make a return at some point to “The Walking Dead” universe.
At New York Comic Con in October, Kirkman addressed Heath’s absence and told fans he hopes he’ll be back.
“We are hoping to get him back and tell his story,” Kirkman said during a panel INSIDER attended. “There are definitely plans in place there. It’s just a matter of making sure that everything can line up because it is somewhat complicated.”
“I hope so too,” Kang told INSIDER of seeing Hawkins again in the “Walking Dead” universe again. “He’s a wonderful human being and a terrific actor.”
Even if Hawkins doesn’t return to “The Walking Dead,” there’s a chance he could wind up on one of those “Walking Dead” movies alongside Andrew Lincoln. If he was taken by the helicopter crew, Rick may be on his way to reunite with him. That should be interesting since the two didn’t exactly see eye to eye.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays on AMC at 9 p.m. You can follow along with our “Walking Dead” coverage here.