Six new bonus episodes extending The Walking Dead's tenth season into early next year are "the best episodes that I've ever read," says Lauren Cohan, whose Maggie Rhee heroically returned in last Sunday's "A Certain Doom." These new episodes, designed to be filmed safely amid the pandemic with extensive COVID-19 protocols in place, will tell character-driven stories taking place before and in the aftermath of the Whisperer War. Featuring such characters as Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), this half-dozen stretch of episodes will also reveal what happened to Maggie in the several years she spent away from The Walking Dead.
"I knew she was going to come back, we just didn't know exactly when," Cohan told The Hollywood Reporter. "I mentally always had her in a quadrant of my brain and soul. [Showrunner Angela Kang] and I just kept this conversation alive and flexible. And this is the way that we were able to do it and it has obviously, we now have room to tell this giant story in these 30 episodes next year."
The six episodes planned to air towards the start of 2021 are the first of the 30 remaining episodes until the end of The Walking Dead. Cohan returns as a series regular in the 24-episode final season that will span two years, ultimately concluding in late 2022.
"We have a long way to go and we're really excited to give it everything. Knowing the end date, I think is really a gift," Cohan said. "It's a gift for the writers, and it's a gift for us to really cherish every single moment and to pour the literal blood, sweat, and tears into the show like there's no tomorrow because we are going to be getting some killer stuff to do. I know it because we have these six episodes now to do."
She added, "I might have said this before about other things, but these are the best episodes that I've ever read."
While the episodes are more restrained, lacking the scope and scale of bigger episodes of The Walking Dead due to the pandemic, they tell a "really cool story that I think the fans will really love," Kang told Deadline when detailing the story still to come.
COVID "changed the dynamic a little bit," added Reedus, who notes the episodes bring some "breathing room" in the wake of the Whisperer War.
"I think people need to exhale and take a look around them, and I think that's what's happening now," he said. "I'm sure it'll ramp back up again but right now it's kind of an introspective exhale sort of a feel, which is nice. It's a nice tone."
The Walking Dead returns with six new episodes in early 2021 on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.