After eight seasons of hope, heartbreak, tragedy, and triumph, Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes is set to depart AMC's The Walking Dead with the next episode of season 9, 'What Comes After.' While we're still not sure what Rick's final fate will be – considering the condition and position he finds himself in going into his final episode – let's just say from what we've seen, we're not too confident Rick's coming back for Thanksgiving dinners and Super Bowl parties.
What we do know about the episode is that Jon Bernthal's Shane Walsh, Sonequa Martin-Green's Sasha Williams, and the late Scott Wilson's Hershel Greene will be back, appearing as either hallucinations or flashbacks. Executive producer, special effects guru, and episode director Greg Nicotero took to Instagram to tease fans with a behind-the-scenes look at the Rick/Shane reunion, and share with readers Wilson's thoughts on the scenes he filmed:
"Tomorrow night! I put my all into this episode and very proud of the direction…i feel it's one of my best ! So many great moments paying tribute to characters, moments and fans from the last 9 years. And Bernthal , Sonequa and my dear friend Scott Wilson who was so proud to be back on the show. I'm humbled to say i showed him his scenes and he couldn't have been more proud to tell another chapter of Herschels story."
Steven Yuen (Glenn Rhee) also took to Instagram to honor Lincoln's departure from AMC's long-running series, as well as share a memory of Lincoln and Wilson at a gold tournament – with Wilson looking to get someone's attention:
The Walking Dead Season 9, Episode 5 'What Comes After': Rick is forced to face the past as he struggles to maintain the safety of the communities and protect the future he and Carl envisioned.
Last season brought the culmination of "All Out War," which pitted Rick Grimes and his group of survivors against the Saviors and their cunning leader, Negan. With Negan's life in his hands, Rick had a character-defining choice in front of him. By making the unilateral decision to spare Negan, Rick upheld the values his late son, Carl, championed in order to build for the future, but created conflict within his group.
Now, we see our survivors a year and a half after the end of the war, rebuilding civilization under Rick's steadfast leadership. It is a time of relative peace among the communities as they work together, looking to the past to forge the future, but the world they knew is rapidly changing as man-made structures continue to degrade, and nature takes over, changing the landscape and creating new challenges for our survivors.
As time passes, the communities confront unexpected obstacles, danger, and of course, walkers, but nothing quite prepares them for the formidable force they are about to encounter, which threatens the very idea of civilization that our survivors have worked so hard to build.
Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics, "The Walking Dead" reigns the number one drama on television among adults 18-49 for the last six seasons. The series is executive produced by chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, showrunner Angela Kang, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Greg Nicotero, Tom Luse, and Denise Huth