The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang confirms the cave-in that left Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Magna (Nadia Hilker) trapped in the midseason premiere was used to temporarily write out Ridloff, who next stars as speedster superhero Makkari in Marvel Studios' The Eternals. Season 10 episode 9, "Squeeze," ended with Carol (Melissa McBride) attempting to take out half of Alpha's (Samantha Morton) walker horde gathered in the cave where the Whisperer leader trapped Daryl (Norman Reedus) and other heroes in a cliffhanger ending the midseason finale. The cave was rocked by an explosion set off by a fumbled stick of dynamite, leaving Connie and Magna's exit buried beneath tons of rubble.
When Insider asked Kang if Connie's disappearance was a reaction to Ridloff's filming schedule on Eternals, Kang answered that was an "apt observation."
"Yeah, there is some aspect of that that is true," she added. "But I think for the story, it's actually worked out really beautifully. So I think there's some really interesting stuff that came out of it for both Carol and Daryl, and she's a character that I think is leading with emotion for both of them. So sometimes those things that you have to do to help out a beloved actor also work out in your favor."
Leaving Carol and the others to question if Connie and Magna can be rescued from the cave filled with Whisperers and walkers alike is a plot point that has marred the tight bond between best friends Daryl and Carol, and will further fuel the story of a guilt-ridden Carol as she seeks redemption over harm she's inadvertently caused in carrying out this vendetta against her son's killer.
"For Carol, she has been so driven by vengeance against Alpha, so there are a couple of things that happen from this. We’ve been thinking of this moment like this is her rock bottom," Kang told EW after the midseason premiere. "It’s almost like she’s addicted to the idea of revenge against Alpha, and she’s been spiraling and going kind of darker. The thing with a story about vengeance is of course it’s really satisfying to think, 'Yeah, get revenge against the people who’ve wronged you and who’ve killed those you love' and all of that."
Kang continued, "But vengeance is complicated and there’s got to be consequences to it because you can have blinders on. So that’s part of the story that we’re telling with Carol. Now in some ways, she’s motivated more than ever to try to finish this mission, because otherwise it was all for nothing. And yet she knows that she has things that she needs to repair. She knows that she’s going to want to redeem herself at the same time."
During an appearance on Talking Dead following the midseason premiere, Ridloff drew parallels between Connie and Makkari, calling both characters "kick-ass women." The Eternals opens in theaters Nov. 6.
New episodes of TWD Season 10 premiere Sundays on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.