The Walking Dead Will Explain Maggie's Time Away With Big Story and New Characters

After spending years away from The Walking Dead, Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) returns with new friends from her time on the road — an as-yet-unseen journey that will come to light in the six new Season 10 episodes airing early next year. Sometime during the six-year time skip that followed the disappearance and presumed death of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Maggie and son Hershel left Hilltop after a falling out with Michonne (Danai Gurira). Siddiq (Avi Nash) explained what happened to her in Season 9, Episode 7, "Stradivarius," telling Michonne that Maggie was away "someplace far" helping Georgie (Jayne Atkinson) with a new community.

"We had her in such a limited capacity for that finale, but we were so happy to get to introduce her and have her back," showrunner Angela Kang told Deadline. "So, now that she is back, we're going to find out more about what was happening in that time that she was away."

In the six all-new episodes extending Season 10 into 2021, viewers will learn more about the metal-masked mystery man who sliced his way through Whisperers about to kill Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam).

"She has seen some dark things on the road, and obviously, like when she comes in, she's with this man in like a metal mask, and who is this fellow, what adventures have they been on? That's all part of the story going forward, and it's going to drive one of the major missions that we'll start to see unfold," Kang said. "It will lead us to meet some other interesting characters that will cross into some of the other major storylines of our series going forward."

Maggie's return could mean a reckoning for Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), her husband's killer, who has aligned himself with Maggie's old friends in the time she's been away. It could also signal friction between friends when Maggie learns Carol (Melissa McBride) set Negan free, ending his life sentence to send him after Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton).

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"Her character is so impactful and has these longstanding relationships with various characters that are on our show, such as Daryl and Carol. They've been through so much together," Kang said about Maggie's next chapter during the Walking Dead Universe Preview Special. "But also we know there's still Negan to contend with. He's just kind of been on this redemption arc, making some progress, and now that she's back, they were never expecting to be in the same community together again. So obviously that's going to have a big ripple effect into the season to come."

The Walking Dead returns with six new episodes in early 2021 on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.