Maggie Rhee returns to The Walking Dead as "somewhat a new character," and the homecoming for longtime series star Lauren Cohan involves exciting new characters who will expand the story and world of the Walking Dead Universe, ComicBook.com has learned from executive producer Scott Gimple. Maggie was MIA when The Walking Dead jumped six years into the future six during its ninth season, and her absence explained when Siddiq (Avi Nash) revealed Maggie was away "someplace far" helping Hilltop benefactor Georgie (Jayne Atkinson) with a new community. Maggie installed Jesus (Tom Payne) as leader before leaving the Hilltop colony with son Hershel, not knowing their home would suffer devastating losses at the hands of Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers.
"She will return somewhat a new character, which is kind of cool, and all those things that affected and changed her are a story that we want to mine," Gimple told Comic Book's Brandon Davis over Comic-Con weekend. "And the dynamics that she left the story in are not the dynamics that she's coming back to and for her especially, it's like she took a year off of high school and she's coming back and everybody has changed."
A sneak peek look at the opening minutes of the Season 10 finale shows Maggie unearthing a letter penned by Carol (Melissa McBride), who warns Maggie about the group's newest threat. The letter also informs Maggie about the many losses suffered since she's been away, including Whisperer victims Jesus, Tara (Alanna Masterson), and Enid (Katelyn Nacon).
Maggie will soon come to learn Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), her husband's killer, is a free man: what was supposed to be a life sentence ended prematurely when Negan was set loose by Carol, who ordered him to infiltrate the Whisperers and bring her Alpha's head. Maggie and Negan are now on a collision course for Season 11.
"All the things have scrambled and there's Negan in a very different role," Gimple said. "And it's a reintroduction. She can't just pick up where she left off and she's carrying a story with her that, yeah, will expand things."
Asked if Maggie's reintroduction comes with new characters, a tight-lipped Gimple teased, "I'll just say yes."
Gimple's comments suggest the mysterious masked person encountered by Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Alden (Callan McAuliffe) is friend, not foe, and could belong to a much-needed cavalry as Daryl (Norman Reedus) and the other survivors are surrounded by a massive zombie horde. (Showrunner Angela Kang previously hinted Maggie returns in the "nick-of-time.")
And Cohan, who participated in the show's virtual Comic-Con panel with other members of the Walking Dead cast, says she feels like she "never really left" since stepping away in the ninth season.0comments
"What can I tease? Nothing," Cohan admitted with a laugh. "I think the most important thing, or maybe the most exciting thing, is she's sort of coming back. It's not just a visit. It's moving from pen pals to real-life friends. Her and Carol have been in communication. It's good, she's coming back."
The Walking Dead Season 10 finale premieres Sunday, October 4 on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.