There's bad blood between Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) in Season 11 of The Walking Dead, but executive producer Scott Gimple reveals Maggie's story won't be defined by her vendetta against Negan in the Final Season. The extended Season 10 ended with Negan strolling back into Alexandria and flashing a smile at his new neighbors despite being banished by Carol (Melissa McBride), who warns Negan: "If you stay here, she will kill you." It would be revenge for Negan murdering Glenn (Steven Yeun) — Maggie's husband and the father of her son, Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller) — but how Maggie deals with Negan is part of a larger story to unfold in The Walking Dead's final 24 episodes.
"It certainly isn't just about that [Maggie vs Negan]. She isn't defined by that," Gimple said during a recent appearance on TWDUniverse on Twitch. "It is some pretty crucial business, obviously the end of the episode ['Here's Negan'] seems to tell us that it's nothing to sneeze at."
Maggie returns home to help the survivors finish the Whisperer War in Season 10 Episode 16, "A Certain Doom," and by Season 10 Episode 17, "Home Sweet Home," she confesses to Daryl (Norman Reedus) that she spent years away on the road because of Negan. "I'll deal with Negan if I have to," Maggie says, deciding it's more important that her young son — and their dwindling group of survivors hunted by the Reapers — have a home after finding the Hilltop burned to the ground.
"She was out there doing pretty incredible things," Gimple said of Maggie. "She went from someone who was listening to her dad obviously and wasn't sure walkers were sick or whether they were dead, to someone who very quickly became the leader of a community and stabilized them and led them through some very difficult stuff. She wore that in a way that seemed like she was born for it. That's a huge part of her story. Even motherhood, I wouldn't say would define her."
"Seeing this kind of leader emerge from the apocalypse, forged by the apocalypse, I think that's her story," the Walking Dead Universe chief content officer added. "I think Negan is an unbelievable complication to that, but to hit it one more time, it doesn't define her."
Both Cohan and Morgan have teased the coming confrontation between Maggie and Negan in the Final Season and whether the two can co-exist behind the walls of the same community, which is facing other hardships in the wake of the devastating Whisperer War.
"When Maggie and Negan come face-to-face again and he returns to Alexandria, it's gonna make for some really messy unraveling as we contend with whether he can be redeemed," Cohan said after "Here's Negan," "[and] whether Maggie can forgive him."
Added Morgan of Negan and Maggie: "How are they going to co-exist? Are they going to co-exist?"