Throughout the many years The Walking Dead has been on TV, viewers have had to say farewell to quite a lot of characters. Countless fan favorites like Glenn, Hershel, and Dale have been taken out by human antagonists or eaten alive by walkers, but there’s one character who left the series in a more mysterious and abrupt manner.
Heath was on a supply run with Tara (because both actors were going on leave and they needed an excuse as to why their characters were suddenly absent), but only Tara returned from the trip. Tara and Heath were separated while escaping a herd of walkers, but when Tara returned to their rendezvous point, Heath and the RV they rode in on were gone. Only his glasses, tire tracks, and a card with “PPP” written on it were found. Where could he have gone?
For whatever reason, he didn’t make it back to Alexandria where he’s from or any of the other settlements in the show. It’s safe to assume that’s where he would have headed, so something must have happened to him while escaping the walkers. Was he bitten or eaten by walkers? Was he taken or killed by someone? Several years have passed in the show’s canon since then, so it feels like we may never actually find out.
What’s especially frustrating is that throughout the series, when a character has gone missing, the others have gone out of their way to find them. Beth was taken by Dawn and the other antagonistic (and rather sketchy) cops at the hospital, and the group went out of their way in an attempt to find and save her. Rick was impaled and exploded, causing Daryl and Michonne to never stop searching for him because they never found his body. Heath drives away and there’s apparently nothing anyone can do to track him down.
Plus, the series is typically great at ensuring that characters who didn’t die on screen (or have a confirmed off-screen death) return long enough to see what actually happens with them. In the sixth season, there’s a fake-out with Glenn’s death before it’s revealed he was hiding under a dumpster. Morales, who drove off with his family at the end of Season 1, briefly returned in Season 8, allowing us to learn what he went through during the time since and how his character eventually met his end. It’s strange to have Heath disappear without there ever being a real answer for his leaving.
The writers could have easily shown a walker that looks enough like him or had another character say that they found him dead, but not even that bare minimum occurred. Heath never dies or goes missing in the comics, so we can’t even assume that he met a fate similar to his source material counterpart. There is a bit of a rumor online that has yet to be confirmed or denied by the show itself that Heath was sent to the same place Rick was by Jadis/Anne. This would be a fun idea and could mean that we’d potentially see Heath in the Rick Grimes movies once those are finally made. It’s still weird that his friends didn’t look for him, though.
Corey Hawkins, who plays Heath, left the show for projects such as Kong: Skull Island and 24: Legacy. It’s definitely understandable why Hawkins would want to leave the show for them, but it does make one wonder why he didn’t return once they were finished, like Lauren Cohan (Maggie) did after taking a rather extended break from the series for other acting ventures. Once they knew Hawkins was not returning, they probably should have just killed off Heath altogether so this mystery didn’t remain open for the remainder of the series.
What do you think happened to Heath? Is he dead? Did he drive off and settle in with another group? Was he kidnapped? Did Jadis send him off on a helicopter? Perhaps this is one mystery in The Walking Dead we may never find the answer to.