When Maggie (Lauren Cohan) returns to The Walking Dead after spending most of the ninth and tenth seasons away, it will be without her son: Cohan says she's excited to see who plays a seven-years-older version of Hershel Rhee opposite Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming). A one-year-old Hershel first appeared in the Season 9 premiere, "A New Beginning," taking place 18 months after Hershel's father, Glenn (Steven Yeun), was killed by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). In "Stradivarius," set after a six-year time jump, Siddiq (Avi Nash) revealed Maggie and Hershel had already left the Hilltop colony; Siddiq explained Maggie was away with Georgie (Jayne Atkinson) "someplace far... helping her with a new community."
"I want to meet little Hershel," Cohan said when asked about a meeting between Hershel and Judith during the Walking Dead virtual Comic-Con panel. "But I'm so excited!"
The longtime Walking Dead star stepped away in Season 9 episode "What Comes After" and will appear for the first time this season when Maggie returns in the Season 10 finale, "A Certain Doom," where Judith and little brother RJ (Antony Azor) are among the survivors threatened by the walker and Whisperer army unleashed by Beta (Ryan Hurst).
Maggie was last seen in the same episode that aged Judith by six years, bringing Fleming into the show as the daughter of Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).
"I feel really excited because Cailey is so good that whoever we find for Hershel, and pairing them together, is going to result in some really illuminating conversation," Cohan said. "So on all those levels, like meeting people and seeing everything the writers create for these kids, I'm just super jazzed."
In a prediction for Season 11, Morgan said the kid-friendly Negan could potentially form a bond with Hershel now that the former Savior leader has been freed from prison by Carol (Melissa McBride).
"I think that may be a way — we'll see, I'm not a writer on this show — but that may be a way that Maggie sees a different side of Negan, as well," Morgan said. "I think initially she'll just want to kill him, but we'll see what happens."
Showrunner Angela Kang previously revealed Maggie will return in the "nick-of-time" in the season finale, hinting Maggie has a heroic role to play before Cohan is fully reinstated as a series regular in Season 11.
For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter. The Walking Dead Season 10 finale premieres Sunday, October 4 on AMC.