‘The Walking Dead’: Which Fan-Favorite Will Return in Season 11?

Many exciting announcements were made about AMC’s apocalyptic-horror drama, The Walking Dead, at New York Comic Con this past Saturday, revealing that after nearly a decade of airtime, the show still has a bright future ahead of it. The series is currently on its 10th season, has just been renewed for its 11th season, and released the first trailer for its upcoming untitled spinoff series. The Walking Dead will also be receiving three feature film adaptations, each with a theatrical release. One particular tidbit of news absolutely stole the show at New York Comic Con.

For the past few years, The Walking Dead has said its goodbyes to many of the show’s most popular, beloved characters, whether they met a gruesome end at the jaws of a hungry walker or simply wanted to change directions in their career. At New York Comic Con, one fan-favorite announced that they would be returning as a regular, recurring cast member starting with Season 11.

Lauren Cohan
Lauren Cohan | AMC

Actress Lauren Cohan will return in ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 11

In the middle of The Walking Dead’s cast panel at New York Comic Con, a masked figure silently walked on stage, shocking everyone. After what seemed like an eternity of buildup and suspense, the figure removed their mask and revealed herself to be Lauren Cohan, surprising the cast and audience alike by officially announcing her return to The Walking Dead. The crowd erupted into cheers and applause as actors Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon, and Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne, eagerly embraced Cohan.

Lauren Cohan has been absent from The Walking Dead since Season 9 and her lack of presence was deeply felt by fans and cast members alike. She had been an integral part of the series since Season 2.

AMC President Sarah Barnett released an official statement saying, “We’re delighted to welcome back Lauren Cohan, she has meant so much to this show and its passionate, global fanbase, who are in for a fantastic ride over the coming months.”

Barnett and the rest of The Walking Dead cast weren’t the only ones to be overjoyed and choked up over the news of Cohan’s surprise return.

“It feels just like home. It feels so emotional,” Cohan admitted during the New York Comic Con panel, “It feels really, really emotional… I’m really happy to be here.”

Why did Lauren Cohan leave ‘The Walking Dead’?

Rumors began to circulate regarding Cohan’s departure from The Walking Dead back in 2018. At the time, The Walking Dead was in its eighth season. Cohan’s contract with the series had ended and fans speculated that she would leave the show due to disagreements with AMC regarding her salary.

Lauren Cohan quickly shut down these rumors after speaking to reporters at a Television Critics Association event, stating that she simply thought it was her time to move on to different things. Cohan had starred in The Walking Dead for roughly six years.

“It was like, I’ve done the show for a long time,” Cohan said, “It was a long time to be in any character, and sometimes you just get quiet and listen to your inner guidance and it’s time to multi-task.”

During her hiatus from The Walking Dead, Cohan starred in ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier, a comedy-drama about the missions of an FBI agent and his new partner. Despite receiving positive reviews on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, the show was ultimately canceled after its first season.

What’s in the future for Maggie Rhee?

After an indefinite leave of absence from The Walking Dead, many fans are wondering what’s in the cards for Maggie’s character. The last time we saw Maggie, she abandoned her leadership position at Hilltop, leaving the community under the command of Jesus. She left the group with her son, Herschel, to create a brand new community, which many fans speculate could be The Commonwealth community from the comic book series.

In the comics, Maggie becomes the leader of both The Commonwealth and Alexandria. Whether or not the show will follow in the footsteps of the graphic novel series remains to be seen. Just like Rick Grimes, Maggie may even receive her own spinoff solo film.

“We have a lot of story for her that we want to tackle and we’ve talked about different ways we can do it,” Scott Gimple, The Walking Dead’s chief content officer and former showrunner, mentioned in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

The future of Maggie Rhee is still unwritten and it’s unknown if Cohan will make an appearance in Season 10. Fans of The Walking Dead will simply have to wait another year to see how Maggie’s story continues.