Today at New York Comic-Con The Walking Dead Executive Producer and Showrunner Angela Kang announced the news that Lauren Cohan (Maggie) will return to The Walking Dead for Season 11. In an interview, she discusses her return back “home” to the show and the time jump since she’s been gone.
Q: The secret is out! How excited are you to come back to The Walking Dead?
A: I’m so excited to surprise the fans. I know we left Maggie Rhee up in the air and I can’t wait to bring this to them. I’ve always been a big fan of surprises. My family lives between England and America, so my whole life is about how to make an elaborate plan and not spoil it. [Laughs] I’m really happy. Angela [Kang], Scott [M. Gimple] and I have been talking about how we could make this work and everything just aligned. I’m super excited to see what this next chapter of Maggie will be.
Q: What was it like being away from the show for a while?
A: The weird thing is that it never really leaves you. I don’t feel like I left. I do stay in touch with everybody on a regular basis. My friends on the show know that this has been in the works. This reentry is going to feel like going home. I get to go out to Atlanta and spend some time on set shadowing one of our directors, Daisy Mayer, this month. Maybe that will be my soft reentry into the universe – or the Georgia weather – but in general, the character never leaves you. It’s a necessity for me to keep her alive.
Q: There’s been a long time jump on the show since you left. How does that impact Maggie and the way you’ll portray her now?
A: There are definitely things she will have picked up on the road and there’s also the relationship with her son and how growing with him has affected her. Or even what has been happening, I’m in a liberated position to actually not know enough to give spoilers at this point! It’s a nice surprise to come back to these changes, understand what motivates her return, what happened while she was out there and who’s still going to be here when she returns. We have a lot to unpack.
Q: Any thoughts on if Maggie might have unfinished business with Negan?
A: Just like in life, it might be one of those things she doesn’t know until she faces it. She definitely decided not to kill him on that day when Michonne discouraged her. She did go that way. Forgiveness is liberating. I suppose we’ll get to see to what degree she has decided to liberate herself.
Q: In addition to Hershel, there are so many other children who are part of the story. Any thoughts on what the children represent in terms of the future and moving beyond a survival mindset and into one of living?
A: It’s a really interesting question. In relation to The Walking Dead universe, we have a landscape where children are now living without any point of comparison to their “post-apocalyptic” world – and seeing how that can be a positive in its own way. Life (as we know it) can be riddled with anxiety and endless comparing and choice-making, I think the show has always done a good job of reminding us what’s really important… being there for each other.
Q: We’re now in Season 10. Your first episode aired almost nine years ago. What does it mean to you that the show has endured as it has?
A: It’s such an honor to be a part of it and to see it sustain as it has. It’s a testament to the creators and the writers and to our fans. Things wax and wane all of the time, but it takes a lot for something to keep being made – especially now when we have so many choices. The Walking Dead has this unnamable comfort, which is ironic for a show about scary zombies.
Q: What are you most excited for fans to see?
A: I hope they feel the same way I do coming back, like reuniting with an old friend.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
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