Has The Walking Dead already introduced a new man for Maggie? In Sunday's extended Season 10 premiere, "Home Sweet Home," Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and her now eight-year-old son Hershel Rhee (Kien Michael Spiller) come home to Alexandria — and they bring along a dwindling group of survivors that includes the masked man Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) and Cole (James Devoti). Both are Maggie's trusted lieutenants who lived with Maggie and her son before their village was attacked by a pack of hunters they call the Reapers, a new enemy group of unknown number that has followed Maggie and her people back home.
In "Home Sweet Home," Cole's personality rubs some people the wrong way: when Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) bring Maggie to her burned-down home at the Hilltop, Cole sardonically questions going to Alexandria to "live next door" to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). When the group has to clear a parking lot packed with walkers, Cole gets an eye-roll from Kelly (Angel Theory) when he over-confidently tells her it's "no sweat."
Some viewers are now theorizing Cole is the show's answer to Dante, who becomes the widowed Maggie's new love interest in the comic books. There Dante is the crude and sometimes sarcastic right-hand man of Maggie and a survivor of the Hilltop colony, who pursues and eventually wins over Maggie once she's able to move on after the death of her husband Glenn.
Not a bad theory 👀 https://t.co/eHUNV1S7nd— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) March 1, 2021
This relationship did not carry over into the show, where it's revealed that Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) is a Whisperer spy for Alpha (Samantha Morton). Dante arrives at Alexandria during Maggie's time away from The Walking Dead and dies before she makes her return in "A Certain Doom."
Showrunner Angela Kang previously revealed this change to Dante happened because of Cohan's two-year absence from The Walking Dead, explaining her hiatus created an opportunity for the creators to "write someone from the comic but still have a new take on it."
"We talked about introducing Dante as a character a few times over the years. It never happened. It never felt like the exact right time. Why bring in Dante now? What's he doing for the story?" Kang told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019. "Then when Lauren was out for a while, it was like, well, we weren't going to do that version of Dante. He was on the backburner for us for a bit. Then we started working on the story of the conflict of the Whisperers in a way that feels new and refreshing, and plays into a cold war feel that we wanted to experiment with."
Dante in the comics is actually in a relationship with Maggie so will we see that between Cole and Maggie? 👀👀👀 #TheWalkingDead— katia salazar (@ItsJustKatia) March 1, 2021
Cole as Comic Danteprevnext
Cole is like comic Dante but way cooler https://t.co/D8bB6gGVwW— Kaylaˣ (@KoryWylie) March 1, 2021
Rubs You the Wrong Way
Cole is 100% comic Dante, and just like comic Dante, I am not a fan #TheWalkingDead— Matthew Sandison (@SuperPuppy448) March 1, 2021
I bet Cole ends up with Maggie later on. I can see him being comic Dante. #TWD— Justin (@AllEliteJKT) March 1, 2021