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.
Header photo credit: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images