The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang teases Lauren Cohan's Maggie Rhee will return sometime during the eight-episode back half of Season 10 before the series veteran rejoins the show as a series regular in Season 11. Cohan was last seen in Season 9 episode "What Comes After," the exit episode for Rick Grimes star Andrew Lincoln, before stepping away to headline short-lived ABC spy action-comedy Whiskey Cavalier. Following a six-year time jump, Siddiq (Avi Nash) revealed to Michonne (Danai Gurira) Maggie was off with son Hershel "someplace far" helping Hilltop benefactor Georgie (Jayne Atkinson) with a new community.
"She will come back as a series regular in Season 11, but you know, we may see her before that," Kang told Deadline. Asked to elaborate, Kang said, "No, no, I can't."
Maggie's return has been long in the works, and she hasn't been forgotten by TWD: Maggie was mentioned in the Season 9 finale and again in the Season 10 premiere, and the currently away Hilltop leader has kept in touch with the communities via letter.
"You know, like we, even when she was leaving for the other show, it was always like the conversation was Lauren wanted to spread her wings but the door was always open for her to return," Kang said. "We were having conversations for a long time — I wasn't being coy or making that up."
Kang noted there were "so many" of those behind-the-scenes conversations, and Cohan's return "just was a matter of with our schedule and hers how to fold it all together, and it finally worked out."
"So, we're just like everybody's really happy that she's coming back because we love Lauren, and she brings a lot to the show," she continued. "Even when she left, she's been in contact with everybody, and it's been great. I'm just excited to kind of write her next chapter because she's just a lovely human being and a really compelling character, too, I think."
Cohan crashed TWD's Season 10 panel at New York Comic Con in October to announce her return. It was there AMC announced the zombie drama, which resumes its tenth season in February, has been renewed for an eleventh season.
"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 previously told the AMC blog. "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 [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."
The star, who joined in Season 2 in 2011 before steadily appearing as a series regular up through the first half of Season 9, boarded Whiskey Cavalier because she "got to go to a territory that was fun." That series also allowed Cohan to step into a role that scratched an itch to do comedy.
"I was just like, I've done this show [TWD] for a long time," Cohan said during the Television Critics Association press tour earlier this year. "It was a long time to play a character, and sometimes you just get quiet and listen to your inner guidance and it's time to multitask."
When Maggie is again billed alongside co-stars Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride in Season 11, Maggie will re-enter the action with an important role to play.
"I don't want to spoil too much about it, but we're really excited about that Lauren's coming back," Kang said on a recent episode of Talking Dead. "We've been saying for a while that we have more stories to tell with her, and so, I'll just say she comes in and there's a lot of stuff going on. And there's some stuff of significance that she does."