'The Walking Dead' at NYCC: Lauren Cohan Returns as Maggie, a Season 11 Renewal, Cast Announcements and More
On Saturday, October 5, The Walking Dead took over the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden for a New York Comic Con panel just a day before the Season 10 premiere airs on AMC.
The panel, hosted by Talking Dead’s Chris Hardwick included: showrunner Angela Kang, chief content officer and executive producer Scott M. Gimple, comic book creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman, executive producer David Alpert and cast members Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Danai Gurira, Cailey Fleming, Josh McDermitt, Seth Gilliam and Ross Marquand.
There were tearful goodbyes for Gurira’s katana-wielding Michonne, who is entering her final season on the series and was on deck to celebrate her final New York Comic Con with the cast, as well as exciting announcements and one very special returning cast member. Here’s a round-up of the biggest moments:
Season 11 Renewal
Never fear—the flagship series isn't going anywhere. Kang announced to the audience early on that Season 11 is officially a-go!
Reedus on Daryl and Carol’s (Melissa McBride) Relationship
"She says hi to everyone; she texted me this morning," Reedus says of his costar McBride, who was stuck in Atlanta shooting and could not attend the panel. Luckily, Reedus chimed in on the ever-evolving relationship between the two longtime survivors. "It’s complicated this year," he explains. "They both love each other and have each other’s backs but she’s going through some stuff." Talk about an understatement. Carol's struggle with overcoming the loss of her adopted son Henry (Matthew Lintz) will continue to affect her in Season 10.
Daryl is changing too. "He’s a different guy now," he says. "He used to be such a hot-headed guy, and he just didn’t give a crap. He’s learned from the people before him … he’ll be in a situation and think, ‘What would Rick do here?’"
Danai Gurira Has Officially Wrapped Shooting
"I have finished with my time shooting, so it was a really interesting transition," the actress admits. "The idea of stepping away from Michonne, she’s in me. She’s in my bone marrow.” She adds: "It’s that sort of transition where it’s like the day after, and I’ve been in the day after for a while now."
We don't yet know how, why or when the iconic character will be leaving, but we do know it will be a major moment within Season 10.
The Whisperers War
Eventually, things will come to a head with the walker-wearing cult-like group, The Whisperers, and our favorite survivors will have to defend themselves against the horrifying Alpha (Samantha Morton) and company. Luckily, they've got a secret weapon that Gimple assures will change the entire outcoming of the battle, saying: "Two words: Judith. Grimes."
During the panel, the execs also announced that a third comic-based character will be joining this season, alongside the already-announced Virgil (Kevin Caroll) and Dante (Jason Manuel Olazabal): Paola Lázaro (Lethal Weapon) will be playing Princess, a late-in-the-comics fan fave. Princess is an outcasted survivor who joins the group of survivors on the road to Commonwealth, which means that future journey could be closer than viewers expect.
The Rick Grimes Movies
"We are working on ‘em right now," Gimple says of the Andrew Lincoln-starring film projects to come during the fan questions portion of the event. "Andy is talking to me, and Mr. Kirkman a lot as well, and we’re hoping to have some news for you in the next month or two."
The Return of Maggie (Lauren Cohan)
The final and biggest shocker of the panel was when Hardwick invited someone onstage who was seemingly a fan cosplaying as Negan with a Jason Voorhees mask on to take a selfie with the cast. To the complete shock of the audience, the "fan" was revealed to be Cohan in disguise, crashing the panel to announce her return to the series. "I was more nervous in the last 15 minutes than I’ve ever been in my entire life," a shaky Cohan announced to the audience.
Viewers have not seen Maggie—now a mom—since her departure in Season 9. Cohan expressed her extreme excitement to be back, saying, "it feels just like home and it feels really, really good. I don’t know I can’t even put it into words." Adding, “I think we always knew we were going to try to find this reentry at the right time for the story ... I’m just honestly really interested in what we’re going to be able to say because we’ve had so much time pass.”
The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres Sunday, October 6, 9/8c on AMC.