Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) recently made an abrupt departure from The Walking Dead, but showrunner Angela Kang is already planning for Maggie's return in season 10. Though it's not confirmed that Cohan will be back next season, Kang seem very hopeful that the scheduling will work out.
Maggie was written out of The Walking Dead during the recent big time jump, since Cohan had a scheduling conflict with her upcoming series, Whisky Cavalier. The canon reason for Maggie leaving is that she joined up with wandering collector of culture Georgie (Jayne Atkinson), and she's left Jesus (Tom Payne) in charge of Hilltop in the meantime. The most recent episode of The Walking Dead saw Jesus reading a letter from Maggie, and Jesus has taken to his leadership role reluctantly, believing that the situation is only temporary and Maggie will soon return.
He may just be tight. Kang told ComicBook that she's already been having discussions with Cohan about Maggie's possible return in season 10:
"We will hopefully come back to Maggie's story in season 10... Lauren and I have been texting about some things, and we're hopefully gonna schedule a conversation, but Georgie's group is definitely out there in world doing some stuff, and I have some notion of what they're up to. They may also be part of the universe in general. That's really up to Scott, but we'll see how it all plays out."
While The Walking Dead has established a collection of communities - Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom - much of what is happening in the rest of America remains a mystery. Maggie's travels with Georgie could well shed further light on other attempts at restarting civilization, since Alexandria is by no means the first settlement that Georgie has reached out to. "In our minds there's a lot of things going on in the world around our characters and the way that it intersects with our story," Kang said, adding that this outside drama is part of the current conversation about how Maggie will be brought back.
It's worth reiterating that Maggie's season 10 return is by no means official yet. "I'm operating off of the idea that hopefully we'll get Lauren back," Kang clarified. "We've certainly been talking about it, so we'll see, but yeah." Maggie has long been one of the most popular characters on the show, and is one of the only characters who were around in season 2 who are still alive in The Walking Dead universe, so fans are very invested in finding out what she's been up to.
The world outside of The Walking Dead's main bubble will also be explored in three upcoming movies featuring Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), who was whisked away from the main show and apparently won't ever return. At this rate, Carol and Daryl are going to end up dueling to the death to claim the title of Last Remaining Season 1 Character.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.