Lauren Cohan is back as Maggie Rhee and The Walking Dead is that much better for it. Of course, questions abound not only of where she’s been but also where she is going. Lauren Cohan has some answers as well as thoughts about her character’s future.
Lauren Cohan knew she was coming back. Her departure from the series in the first place was left open-ended as the actress relieved herself of her The Walking Dead duties for the short-lived ABC series Whiskey Cavalier. While it would have been a nice feather in the cap for the actress to lead a new series for longer than one season, Lauren Cohan knew no matter what, Maggie Rhee had unfinished business and would eventually appear.
Lauren Cohan spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about her return, “I knew she was going to come back, we just didn’t know exactly when,” Cohan said. “I mentally always had her in a quadrant of my brain and soul. [Showrunner Angela Kang] and I just kept this conversation alive and flexible. And this is the way that we were able to do it and it has obviously, we now have room to tell this giant story in these 30 episodes next year.” Her return became official during the October 4th episode, “A Certain Doom”. This episode was set to be the Season 10 finale but as life during COVID would continue to show, things change.
The announcement of Lauren Cohan’s return came right before the Season 10 premiere last October, so we are a year into the anticipation. This means we have had a long time to put together where she may have been, what she may have been up to, and just how she is going to deal with that elephant in the room named Negan. If you haven’t seen her returning episode, spoilers follow.
It is Carol who eventually gets Maggie back into the fold. The two have been exchanging letters (apparently the post office is alive and well during the zombie apocalypse) and Maggie gets a letter from Carol, pleading with her to return to help save all her friends in the safe-zone from the threat from the Whisperers. Maggie acquiesces. Unfortunately, those old demons do not die easily.
“I think her relationships with everybody at home is extremely complicated, as I’m sure people can imagine,” says Lauren Cohan. “There was the difficulty of trying to remain there and carry on with your life with Negan being, even if he was in prison, he was there and alive. And it was so much to contend with. but these letters from Carol ultimately have to override any reasons that she may have had for leaving. And there were positive reasons too; it wasn’t just about removing herself from the place where Negan was.”
But where has Maggie been? What has she been up to? According to Lauren Cohan via Cinemablend, “I had a lot of my own suspicions about what may have happened, just knowing the things that Maggie was pursuing and what she was interested in as she led Hilltop and developed Hilltop when we were still in Season 9.”
The ex-Whiskey Cavalier actress had much more to say, “…when she came back, I knew that some of those desires had been fulfilled, that some of that exploring had been fulfilled,” said Lauren Cohan. “And as per Angela, what I knew beyond that was that some pretty unpleasant people had also kind of intersected with her path along the way. So I knew about as much as that. And I knew I would be coming back with a couple of friends; these friendships that had been developed through trying situations. So that was it, and the rest of it was kind of left up to my actorly imagination, knowing that it would all be fleshed out. But it’s relatively conceivable to paint pictures of wonderful things and horror things when you’ve been in the show for this long, and yet it was still beautifully surprising to see what, in actual fact, Maggie has been up to now that I have the script.”
More spoilers! Her return was timely for one character, that being Father Gabriel. It looked like The Walking Dead fans were gearing up for the bloody departure of another main character until Maggie arrives with a metal-masked friend in tow. The smiles seen on screen were as genuine as it gets.
“That was such a great moment. And definitely, like you say, for people who are familiar with the comic story, that is the moment when Father Gabriel would have left this earth. And luckily, for us, it’s not,” said Lauren Cohan. “It was so much fun to shoot that with Seth. That moment just warms my heart so much, because the great actor that he is, he communicates so much. It wasn’t scripted that Father Gabriel sort of like laughed or anything when he was reunited with Maggie, and it was just infectious.” A quick note about that metal-masked friend; there is no note because we don’t know who he/she is!
As we begin to fill in the blanks as to Maggie’s whereabouts, the question as to where she is going is raised. With the recent announcement that The Walking Dead will be ending with a super-sized season 11, fans were also treated with the announcement that season 10, which should have already finished, will be adding an additional six episodes to properly give season 10 a nice bow. Fans will be thrilled to know if they already don’t, that The Walking Dead has 30 episodes remaining. So, while the end is near, it is not that near.
“The comfort and the necessity of coming back to the Hilltop – even though the Hilltop is gone, she doesn’t know this yet – and coming back to Alexandria and her family is going to be incredible in many ways and incredibly challenging in many other ways,” said Lauren Cohan. “So the changes that she’s gone through, and what she’s learned and how she’s developed, is really going to be shown over these next 30 episodes that we have, [as well as how she deals with things]. Just the fact that I’m now raising my son and we’ll meet young Hershel, which is very exciting for me, as well as I hope it is for the audience,” she continued on with Cinemablend. Wait a second. Do we get to meet a young Herschel? That’s exciting news and hopefully, his presence will help Maggie find some small piece of comfort.
Her biggest demon, without a doubt, will be Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). It is not known how much Maggie is aware of his comings and goings so we can assume that she is not aware that Negan is out roaming free. Their re-introduction is sure to be one of the highlights in the final six episodes of season 10. Not to mention the fact that Glenn’s son will be in tow.
One last question that needs to be answered. When will we get to actually see what Maggie has been up to? With the semi-finale of season 10 already in the books, when will we get to see the final six episodes? Word has it that the cast and crew are on hiatus after having finished the semi-finale, gearing up to film the final season 10 episodes. So a date has not been set but don’t expect to have to wait too long. At least we can hope answers come sooner rather than later, but we are thrilled to see Lauren Cohan back on the small screen.