’As the dust settles on a emotional season finale, which saw Kat and Robbo’s escape cut short by a fatal car crash, Brody win back Salt and win over Ben, Olivia reject Hunter and fall into the arms of Axel, and Maggie collapse as a result of a mysterious ailment, all eyes are on the new year as the residents of Australia’s most dramatic seaside town pick up the pieces.
Subject to any last-minute schedule changes, Home and Away returns from its break on Monday 29th January after Australian Open winds up, and there’s plenty in store as the show prepares to celebrate its 30th Anniversary!
Dissecting the 2018 preview trailer, and combining this with other bits and pieces that have come out over the past few months, we give you a preview of what’s to come in the year ahead. We’ll be updating this article regularly with more news, so keep checking back.
Maggie Astoni diagnosed with cancer?
After a couple of weeks of complaining of a headache and feeling a little under the weather, the 2017 season finale saw the first signs of something being seriously wrong with Maggie Astoni.
As the rest of Summer Bay repurposed Hunter’s failed engagement bonfire as a vigil for departed Kat Chapman, Maggie steps onto the pier for a breath of fresh air, only to collapse to the floor, with nobody around to help.
While we know that she survives the new year break, it’s not good news for relative newcomer Maggie. Actress Kestie Morassi has been spotted in recent weeks filming with a headscarf covering her head, and one version of the 2018 trailer sees Tori diagnose her with a form of lymphoma.
In scenes filmed in just the last week (discussed below), she’s seen collapsing yet again. In these scenes, she’s sporting her usual flowing brunette locks, though whether this is a wig or not remains to be seen. As these scenes won’t be on screen for another 5 months or so, that suggests that her illness is set to have repercussions far into next year.
Brody and Ziggy tie the knot
Back to the Bay forum member, and owner of Home and Away Instagram account ispyatsummerbay, is lucky enough to live just a stone’s throw away from Palm Beach, and just this week stumbled across the cast filming an exciting turn of events.
It’s not been the smoothest of starts for Ziggy and Brody’s relationship – they first met in ‘the city’ while Brody was in rehab, then, shortly after, Brody gave Ziggy a lift to her ex-boyfriend Jarrod’s house, where she discovered him in bed with another girl – so it’s safe to say they didn’t have the most conventional of introductions.
Perhaps understandably, Brody’s ongoing recovery from ice addiction meant that Ben Astoni forbade his daughter from going anywhere near him. Then, as Brody began to get his life back in order, Ben finally started to warm to his daughter’s newfound love interest, only for Ziggy’s cheating ex to arrive back on the scene, leaving Ziggy torn.
Eventually, in the finale, she decided there was only one man for her, and as the newly happy couple made a joint speech at the re-opening of Salt, Ben publicly gave the pair his blessing.
After a dramatic 6 months, it looks like the powers that be are set to give the young couple some happiness in 2017, as ispyatsummerbay snapped the pair tying the knot in likely one of the final scenes to be filmed before the cast begin their Christmas break
However, their happiness may be short lived, as the footage also shows mum Maggie collapsing into the arms of Ben as the pair drive off.
Ash looks to get revenge on Robbo
Ash and Robbo are another pair who didn’t get off to the best of starts, but in this case Ash’s feelings never changed, and his suspicions over the amnesiac turning out justified as Robbo was revealed to be none other than Beckett Reid. Ash certainly isn’t set to warm to the ex-hitman in the new year, now that his desperate escape plan led to the death of both Ash’s ex-girlfriend Kat and his newborn baby.
Despite Robbo being a changed man – namely due to his inability to remember his old self – Ash is all too aware that it’s his dark past that led to their untimely deaths, and after a year in which he lost his sister Billie, unborn baby and ex-girlfriend Kat, and said goodbye ex-girlfriend Phoebe and niece Luc, he’s not going to be in the best of spirits when we return to the Bay in January.
The 2018 trailer gave us a glimpse of what’s to come, as we see Ash walking away from a burning house, promising that “he will pay for this”. Over other scenes, including the funerals of Kat and her unborn baby, we hear “he took everything that matters to me” and “he can’t hide forever”.
Things look set to come to a head at the Barrenjoey Lighthouse, with the 2018 trailer showing Ash chase Robbo up the steep steps of the hillside, before the two come face to face, Robbo precariously close to the cliff edge.
However, we don’t think that Robbo is set to go anywhere any time soon, as actor Jake Ryan was spotted at the show’s Christmas party just a matter of weeks ago, suggesting he’ll be on screen for at least the first half of 2018.
Blood and Sand… and probably even more Blood
“Who are they?”
“The River Boys”
“What are they doing here?”
“Nothing good, I can promise you that much.”
Alf speaks nothing but the truth as he explains The River Boys to Tori, who looks on in shock as a gang of bikers descend on the Bay and surround boyfriend (Ex-boyfriend? Who knows what they’ll be by the time these scenes air!) Ash.
We don’t yet know what Ash has done to annoy Mangrove River’s most notorious gang, or whether he’s employing their skills to help exact revenge on Robbo, but whatever’s going on, it’s not likely to end well.
We reported back in August that the River Boys would be set to make a re-appearance, as we announced the arrival of Dean, played by Patrick O’Connor. Dean—who’s adorned with the all-too-familiar ‘Blood and Sand’ branding—has been seen filming a number of scenes with Ash and various gang member types, which have already been involved in a brawl with police officers.
One notable scene shows what looks to be some sort of procession, led by Dean and Ash, down to the beach following Kat’s funeral. He has also been seen to be friendly with fellow newcomer Willow, so there may be a possible link between the characters.
Sam Frost arrives as Jasmine Delaney
The arrival of reality TV and radio star Sam Frost in her acting debut has been much publicised since we announced it back in July, and we confirmed back in August that she would arrive as character Jasmine Delaney.
Jasmine certainly arrived with a bang, as the driver of a car that was involved in a huge crash in the 2017 season finale, tragically killing Kat Chapman. Whilst Kat and her newborn baby both died, Jasmine will be integrated into the bay in the opening weeks of 2018 as she comes to terms with what’s happened, and has been seen filming several scenes alongside Leah, who she appears to be striking up a friendship with.
Hunter and Jennifer kiss
It doesn’t look like we’re set to see a quick Hunter and Olivia reconciliation, with the 2018 promo showing Hunter and bully-turned-good Jennifer kiss on the beach. Hunter confided in Jennifer over his plans to propose to Olivia, and the pair struck up an unlikely friendship, which looks set to continue into the new year.
Whether this is part of Hunter’s exit storyline remains to be seen. As we reported last year, Hunter is supposedly leaving the show at some point in 2018. Scott Lee, who plays Hunter, revealed a year ago that he would be filming final scenes towards the end of 2017 and heading to LA.
“I’m excited” Scott told TV Week, “The time I’ve had has gone so quickly and I’ve learnt a lot as an actor. Halfway through the year I’m going to head over to America and suss it out. It’ll prepare me for what’s to come. With the rise of Netflix, work is becoming more obtainable, so it’s a good move for me to go over there”
Scott has been still filming as late as October, and we’ve not got any confirmation as to whether he stuck to his decision and filmed his final scenes this month, but will keep you up to date if any news is announced.
As we found out with Matt Little’s recent departure, which saw VJ Patterson unexpectedly leave for Cyprus with baby Luc, the producers are often able to keep cast departures a secret right until the last moment.
Dramatic gas explosion set to rock the Bay
Scenes from the 2018 promo see a dramatic explosion rock the bay, blowing up part of Summer Bay High, and potentially leaving Alf close to death.
The scene appears to show a maroon-coloured car crashing into some (presumably) gas repair works, causing a large spark which ignites the nearby gas pipe and results in a large explosion.
Presuming it’s a part of the same accident, another blink-and-you-miss-it shot appears to show an explosion blowing out in a Summer Bay High classroom, suggesting the gas leak and explosion may cause havoc throughout the town.
Meanwhile, another shot shows Alf collapsing through a floor into a hole – part of the same explosion hitting the Bait Shop, or another dramatic event to hit the town at another point in the year? With Alf seen to clutch his chest in one shot, and with his 2017 stroke still in the rear-view mirror, could this be the end of the Summer Bay stalwart?
If that’s not enough to send him over the edge, there’s news on the rumour-mill that another of Alf’s long-lost family members is set to return, hot on the heels of estranged daughter Quinn Jackson. This one is set to be an even stranger reunion, considering they’ve not been seen in 30 years…
Whatever happens, it certainly won’t be a quiet year in Summer Bay as Home and Away celebrates its 30th anniversary. We’ll bring you all the latest news and spoilers throughout the year, so stick with Back to the Bay.
Visit Summer Bay!
If you’re in Sydney over the coming months and fear you may begin to suffer from Home and Away withdrawals, why not take the time to visit the beautiful Palm Beach (Summer Bay) yourself – you may even be lucky enough to spot some filming and take some snaps with cast members!
The Official Home and Away Tour departs from central Sydney four days a week, and costs just $99 per person. For more information, and to book tickets directly through the official tour provider, click here or on the button below.