Major spoilers below for The Walking Dead's Episode 1016, so anyone who hasn't yet watched should be warned!
Of all the highly anticipated moments that The Walking Dead delivered with the long-delayed Episode 1016, one that had viewers chattering quite a bit ahead of time was the introduction of the mysterious masked companion that first showed up in the episode's extended promo. His arrival in "A Certain Doom" was definitely brief, but it was still pretty impressive, considering how well he worked his weaponry. Unfortunately, the episode ended without revealing the character's identity, only going so far as to have Maggie confirm it's a male beneath the mask.
Luckily, CinemaBlend recently spoke with The Walking Dead star Lauren Cohan ahead of Maggie's big return in Episode 1016, and while she obviously couldn't get into hot water with showrunner Angela Kang by divulging super-spoilery details, here's what the actress was able to tell me:
What I can say is that he is as loyal to Maggie as Maggie is to him, that they have been through some pretty difficult situations, and have had each other's backs, as well as possibly some other friends that we're going to meet. There's not too much more I can say safely. Yeah, for people [who will be wondering], it's not a romantic thing, we can say that. So there's not too much I can say, but just that he is one of a few people that are very important, and that will be important next year as we go into these new episodes.
Lauren Cohan really gave a lot for us to think about while not really saying that much at all. First, she made it clear that Maggie and Masked Man are quite familiar with one another, which was something of an unspoken reveal in the episode, given the fact that he was the one accompanying her on this trip back to her former communities. In any case, Masked Man may very well have a better understanding of Maggie's current personality and worldview over anyone from Hilltop or Alexandria, which could make for some interesting personal conflicts later in Season 10 and into the final season.
As well, Lauren Cohan spoke to the as-yet-unknown dangers that Maggie and Masked Man went through together in the years after she left Hilltop behind, a series of events that Walking Dead viewers will likely be clued in on through future episodes. Speaking of the show's future, it sounds like we'll be meeting up with more of Maggie's newer crew at some point. But will their identities be hidden like Masked Man, or will they be more free to show their faces to outsiders? (Also, can someone make sure that Jayne Atkinson's Georgie is one of those friends?)
Finally, Lauren Cohan immediately cleared up any potentially festering curiosities about Maggie having found a new romantic partner in her masked compadre. Even though they showed up at the hospital together, they didn't show up at the hospital together-together. It's possible that some fans might have thought Masked Man was a live-action stand-in for the comic book's Dante, whose lovey-dovey relationship with Maggie was severely remixed when Juan Javier Cardenas portrayed the character earlier in Season 10. Cohan commented a bit more about that point, saying:
Yeah, I don't think she's ready for this. Well, I don't know, it's nine years [since Glenn died], actually. But I don't think, no.
If Maggie doesn't feel the need to love any other men in her life beyond Lil Hershel, then that's perfectly fine by me. Especially if it means we get to see Lil' Hershel in the immediate future, along with tons of baby pictures that instantly remind us of Steven Yeun's Glenn and Scott Wilson's O.G. Hershel. How weird would it be if Masked Man was some kind of genetically modified version of Lil Hershel?
I also had a chance to talk to The Walking Dead's Seth Gilliam about the Masked Man's first big action moment, which came about just when it looked like Father Gabriel would be killed off by a few random Whisperer dipshits. Of course, the actor also couldn't get into any spoiler-heavy talk about the new character, as he shared viewers' lack of information about who Masked Man was whenever he and Maggie showed up just in the nick of time. Here's what Gilliam thought of Masked Man:
A very interesting character. I thought, what is this guy's deal? What's his story? And he's pretty handy with those scythes, or whatever they are; those blades on sticks. When we were shooting that scene, he came in doing all this Bruce Lee stuff with blades in his hands, and it was like, this dude rocks! He just rocks. To my mind, he doesn't need to speak a word. We could have him in every scene behind the as long as we get two or three examples of him wielding blades. . . . Whatever it may be, whatever form we can find it. He's climbing a tree, he's cutting down bananas. Whatever. [Laughs.]
Obviously, The Walking Dead has featured lots of characters who have rocked specific weapons in the past, but I gotta agree with Seth Gilliam that Masked Man and his mini-scythes/sickles rocks, and he'll no doubt continue to prove himself a force to be reckoned with for anyone who tries to get in Maggie's way. (Not that her bow-and-arrow skills wouldn't already do some damage on their own.) For now, though, Masked Man's greatest weapon against fans is arguably his unidentifiable nature.
While waiting for further juicy details about Masked Man and an idea of when Season 10 will return to AMC for its final six episodes, stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates and Walking Dead exclusives, such as co-star Ryan Hurst's intriguing thoughts about Beta's demise in 'A Certain Doom,' and . And be sure to keep current with our Fall TV 2020 premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way.