The Walking Dead season 10 has brought Maggie back and it’s already positioning her to become the new leader of Alexandria. Rather than move ahead with their plans for The Walking Dead season 11, the series instead chose to film six bonus episodes that extend season 10. These episodes are smaller in scale and focus on only a few characters each. The first bonus episode, “Home Sweet Home”, sees Maggie return with her son, Hershel, and a new group of survivors hoping to call Alexandria home.
Since Rick’s “death” in The Walking Dead season 9, Alexandria has been overseen by a council rather than a leader. Various residents of Alexandria have served on the council, with Gabriel acting as its lead member and, prior to her departure, Michonne serving as head of security with full veto power. The council has decided several issues since its inception, like Negan’s fate after killing Margo and whether or not Lydia could remain. During the Whisperer War, though, the council lost more members, and in the chaos that’s followed, the current state of the ruling body hasn’t really been discussed. Now, with Maggie’s return, it’s possible Alexandria could again find itself governed by a single person.
In The Walking Dead season 10, episode 17, “Home Sweet Home”, Maggie’s return finds her taking charge almost immediately. Daryl, in particular, falls in step behind Maggie, following her lead as they go and collect the remaining members of her group. When it comes to deciding where they’ll spend the evening, it’s Maggie’s decision, and when they encounter the Reaper, it’s Maggie who’s calling the shots. Kelly also picks up on Maggie’s obvious leader vibe, noting to her, “You seem like you’ve been in charge of people your whole life. You protect them.” Along with this foreshadowing, the episode’s final scene even hints at Maggie assuming leadership in the form of an Easter egg. When Maggie and the rest finally arrive in Alexandria, there’s graffiti visible over Maggie’s left shoulder as she enters town: Whispers Into Screams. A remnant of the Whisperers’ final attack on Alexandria, the phrase is also the title of The Walking Dead Volume 23, the trade paperback that includes the comic issues in which Maggie is officially the new leader of Hilltop.
All combined, the clear nod to Maggie’s rise as a leader in the comics and how other characters are already reacting to her return seems to foreshadow her future lies in becoming Alexandria’s next leader. Though the community has technically been led by the council, it was Michonne who Alexandria looked to for leadership following Rick’s disappearance. In the wake of her departure, Daryl assumes some of this role, but his character has never been one to take charge, usually working best in partnership with another, like Carol or Rick. Alexandria is again in need of someone to lead, and The Walking Dead is setting Maggie up to assume this position.
Moreover, a leader for Alexandria is going to become very important come The Walking Dead season 11. Though delayed, the show’s final season is still expected to adapt the Commonwealth story from the comics. This story introduces not just a massive new community but the woman who leads it, Pamela Milton. In the comics, Pamela is yet another foil for Rick and she serves as the primary antagonist for this arc. Assuming AMC’s adaptation sticks somewhat close to the img material, their Commonwealth’s leader will need a counterpart in Alexandria. And though Gabriel has received strong development in recent seasons, he isn’t on par with a villain like Governor Milton.
Maggie, on the other hand, is a much stronger choice to oppose the Commonwealth’s leader. Not only has she the experience, but she’s a strong-willed individual who isn’t easily swayed by slick politician types, which Pamela definitely is. There are still five bonus episodes to go in The Walking Dead season 10, but Maggie is already being set up as the leader who’ll see Alexandria through its upcoming conflict with the Commonwealth and into whatever future awaits the community.