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The Walking Dead confirms three returning characters for season 9

At NYCC 2018, The Walking Dead confirms it's bringing back characters including Hershel, played by Scott Wilson, who died Friday.

walking-dead-motorcycle

Daryl Dixon (played Norman Reedus) can out-race the undead on his motorcycle, but will he always be in control during the new season of The Walking Dead?

AMC

It's no secret The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) will be leaving the show. But at New York Comic Con 2018, the show's leadership confirmed three characters who've since left the show will return in the new season, which premieres Sunday on AMC.

A previously revealed return for Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh was already essentially confirmed, but newly announced were reprisals for Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) and Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green). The announcement came just as the sad news began circulating that Wilson passed away Friday at age 76 from leukemia complications. 

"There were some rumors going around … we were trying to lie, but we want to confirm that Jon Bernthal is coming back," showrunner Angela Kang said during the NYCC panel.

But since Bernthal's character died, was turned into a walker and then was killed again, chances are he'll probably return in a flashback memory moment. 

Other returning characters Hershel and Sasha could also be part of a dream sequence or flashback. Kang didn't reveal any further details during the panel.

Since Lincoln is indeed leaving the show, the cast and crew on the NYCC panel praised him for his work as Grimes, sharing their favorite moments working with him on the set.

Producer Dave Alpert said his favorite Rick moments happened during season 1, when Rick rides into Atlanta on horseback and sees the devastation, but he also loves the beginning of season 3 when Grimes rose to the top as a leader of a very complex group of survivors.

"Working with Andrew Lincoln is gonna go down as one of the greatest pleasures of my life," actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who plays villain Negan on the show) said.

During the panel, fans were asked to pick their favorite Rick scene in a poll. The winning scene ended up being played for the audience -- it's when Rick and Daryl reunite in season 4 where Rick says the famous line, "It's not on you. It's not on you. You back with us is everything. You're my brother."

"This is a fervent and intelligent fan base," Lincoln said of the show's fans. "This interaction with fans is one of the most unique and special things."

Then Lincoln began doing something for the very first time: watching an entire episode of The Walking Dead with the fans who love the show, which screened a day early just for them.

The previously released season 9 trailers have already confirmed some of the major plot points, which include a two-year time jump since the end of the war with the Saviors at the end of season 8. Fans will see how the characters have grown closer as a group, and have been surviving by living off the land.

This new season will also introduce the Whisperers, antagonists from The Walking Dead comics.

The Whisperers, in the comics, skin the dead walkers and wear them so they can live among the undead undetected. The communicate solely through whispering.

The Whisperers will include new cast members Samantha Morton as Alpha, Ryan Hurst as Beta, Nadia Hilker as Magna and Cassady McClincy as Lydia.

First published Oct. 6, 7:03 p.m. PT.
Update, 10:48 p.m. PT: Adds confirmation of Scott Wilson's death.