The Walking Dead boss Angela Kang has revealed that the writers originally planned on giving Maggie Rhee an onscreen romance with Alden, following husband Glenn’s controversial death in season six.
The second chapter in the zombie drama’s supersized season 11 saw Maggie (Lauren Cohan) return to the hut where she had left an injured Alden (Callan McAuliffe), only to discover that he had turned undead in her absence. As not to leave him wandering around Georgia in his walker state forever, Maggie knifed Alden in the head, before collapsing on top of him in a devastated heap.
The pair had been close prior to his death, with Alden stepping in as Maggie’s second-in-command at the Hilltop Colony when former co-leaders Jesus (Tom Monroe) and Tara (Alanna Masterston) were killed by Alpha and her Whisperers. They might have become even closer, though, had Cohan not stepped away from the show for a brief spell in seasons nine and 10.
"[Alden] was originally cast as a Dante-like character," Kang recently told TV Line, referring to Maggie’s same-named love interest in Robert Kirkman’s graphic novels.
"Not Dante himself - we obviously used him in a different sort of context as we do sometimes," she continued, noting how show-Dante, who was played by Juan Javier Cardenas, turned out to be a havoc-wreaking Whisperer spy hiding out in Alexandria.
"We changed gears at a certain point because Lauren left the show for a while, and we knew she was coming back at some point. But by the time she did, it felt like the characters had sort of evolved along different tracks than they would have if she’d been there the whole time.
"That happens frequently, like when one of our cast members takes a job and leaves the show or takes a hiatus. The storylines start to diverge from what our original intention was, so we sort of chase the new storyline."
Much of the drama surrounding Maggie is her ongoing tension with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the man who brutally murdered the father of her child, Glenn (Steven Yeun), several years ago. That looks to change, however, as season 11B continues...
After witnessing a vengeful Maggie kill a couple of mean ol’ Reapers in the installment’s first episode, titled 'No Other Way', Negan elected to distance himself from her, Daryl, and the rest of the gang, in fear she might one day turn on him, too.
"I think what is true is that these two people, at this point in the story, cannot live in peace next to each other," Kang explained. "He’s never going to feel comfortable around her, because he doesn’t trust that she won’t change her mind and go rogue again.
"For her, it’s just too painful for her to be around him. Even knowing that he has made some moves to redeem himself, he’s never apologized to her. He’s openly said that he wishes he’d killed them all. They need some space from each other."
For more on The Walking Dead’s plans and how to watch new episodes early, check out The Walking Dead season 11 release schedule.