Ever since supporting character Heath (Corey Hawkins) abruptly departed The Walking Dead during season 7, fans have wondered what led to his exit.
Ever since supporting character Heath (Corey Hawkins) abruptly departed The Walking Dead during season 7, fans have wondered what led to his exit. Over its ten seasons on the air, hit AMC drama The Walking Dead has said hello and goodbye to many supporting characters. Some become fan favorites during their tenure, while others are happily bid farewell to. Normally though, these characters exit by way of gruesome death, either being killed by another person or munched on by a zombie.
Contrarily to most departed Walking Dead characters, Heath was left seemingly alive, or at least wasn’t shown to have died. The Walking Dead has taught fans more than once that if a character doesn’t die onscreen, they’re probably still out there somewhere, waiting for an opportunity to be written back into the main storylines. In his final episode to date, Heath disappeared after being separated from Tara during a zombie attack on a bridge. When Tara went back to find him, both he and the RV they had been traveling in were gone. Left behind were his broken glasses and a card with PPP written on it.
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Fans assumed that Heath’s fate would one day be explicitly resolved onscreen, but instead Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang cleared things up in a 2018 interview, stating that Heath (like Rick Grimes) had been taken by Jadis and offered up to the mysterious CRM group. It was an anticlimactic reveal, but there’s a real-life reason Heath had to disappear when he did.
Where’s Heath? Why Corey Hawkins Really Left The Walking Dead
The real reason Heath had to be written out of The Walking Dead when he was is that actor Corey Hawkins was being offered opportunities elsewhere so good that he couldn’t justify turning them down. Hawkins had already played Dr. Dre in the rap biopic Straight Outta Compton not long before he joined the Walking Dead cast, and by the time he left the series about a year later, he was blowing up. Hawkins appeared as Houston Brooks in the MonsterVerse blockbuster Kong: Skull Island in 2017, and played lead hero Eric Carter in a 24 spinoff called 24: Legacy on FOX that same year.
While 24: Legacy didn’t return for a second season, Hawkins has since gone on to appear in the Oscar-winning Spike Lee hit BlacKkKlansman, the biopic Georgetown opposite Christoph Waltz and Vanessa Redgrave, and the Michael Bay Netflix action movie 6 Underground. Most recently, Hawkins starred in the Quibi series Survive with Sophie Turner, and will next be on the big screen in the 2021 musical adaptation In the Heights. Hawkins’ career is booming, and while Heath one day making a return to The Walking Dead – or in the movies centered on Rick Grimes – remains a possibility, he may not have the time even if he wanted to come back.
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Michael Kennedy is an avid movie and TV fan that’s been working for Screen Rant in various capacities since 2014. In that time, Michael has written over 2000 articles for the site, first working solely as a news writer, then later as a senior writer and associate news editor. Most recently, Michael helped launch Screen Rant’s new horror section, and is now the lead staff writer when it comes to all things frightening. A FL native, Michael is passionate about pop culture, and earned an AS degree in film production in 2012. He also loves both Marvel and DC movies, and wishes every superhero fan could just get along. When not writing, Michael enjoys going to concerts, taking in live professional wrestling, and debating pop culture. A long-term member of the Screen Rant family, Michael looks forward to continuing on creating new content for the site for many more years to come.
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