Watch Lauren Cohan Crash The Walking Dead Panel for Surprise Return Announcement

Lauren Cohan crashed The Walking Dead's Season 10 panel at New York Comic Con Saturday, where the disguised TWD veteran surprise announced her return to the zombie drama.

In a video captured by showrunner Angela Kang, Cohan appears as a cosplayer wearing a Negan outfit and a Friday the 13th Jason Voorhees mask before unmasking herself to the crowd. She then embraces co-stars Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Danai Gurira, who wraps Cohan in a bear hug.

"I'm so excited to surprise the fans. I know we left Maggie Rhee up in the air and I can't wait to bring this to them," Cohan told the AMC blog ahead of New York Comic Con. "I've always been a big fan of surprises. My family lives between England and America, so my whole life is about how to make an elaborate plan and not spoil it. [Laughs] I'm really happy. Angela, Scott [M. Gimple, TWD chief content officer] and I have been talking about how we could make this work and everything just aligned. I'm super excited to see what this next chapter of Maggie will be."

At a later panel during PaleyFest New York, Kang said the effort to re-introduce Maggie "worked out and we couldn't be more thrilled." Kang also hailed Maggie as "a really compelling character" and said Cohan — who joined in Season 2 in 2011, Kang's first season — is "such a compelling actress."

Cohan will be welcomed back in TWD Season 10 before fully rejoining as a series regular in Season 11, confirmed by AMC at NYCC.

"The Walking Dead burst out of the gate 10 years ago as a genre show that had all the character depth of a top-tier prestige drama. And now 10 years later — led by the brilliant Angela Kang and fueled by one of the most consistently talented casts in television — this phenomenon is flourishing creatively, with critics and audiences embracing its reset," AMC Networks Entertainment Group and AMC Studios president Sarah Barnett said in a statement Saturday. "We're delighted to welcome back Lauren Cohan, she has meant so much to this show and its passionate, global fanbase, who are in for a fantastic ride over the coming months."

Cohan departed TWD nearly a year ago in its ninth season, stepping away in the same episode that sent off Rick Grimes star Andrew Lincoln. Her quiet departure was explained later in Season 9 through Siddiq (Avi Nash), who revealed Maggie and son Hershel left the Hilltop colony some time during the six-year time jump that followed Rick's presumed death. Maggie has been off assisting Georgie (Jayne Atkinson) with a new community but has kept in contact with the survivors through letters.


The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres Sunday, Oct. 6 at 9/8c on AMC. For more TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.

Header photo credit: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images