[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Walking Dead comics.]
Maggie and Glenn have always been the glimmer of hope on AMC's The Walking Dead. The outspoken farmer's daughter and the former pizza delivery guy found their way to each other on the zombie drama's second season after they barely escaped the burning farm that had been overrun by walkers, with Glenn using the opportunity to (finally!) profess his love for Maggie.
This season, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) are on the road as what's left of Rick's group searches for a place to call home -- along with Maggie's father Hershel (Scott Wilson) and younger sister, Beth (Emily Kinney). As part of our Seven Days of The Walking Dead preview leading up to Sunday's third season premiere, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Yeun and Cohan to preview the tests ahead for the on-screen couple.
The Hollywood Reporter: Now that Glenn has a whole family with him -- Maggie, Hershel, Beth -- how will that change him? Might he need to man up faster than he'd anticipated?
Yeun: When disaster does strike, his initial reaction last season was to freak out with the new things that are coming forward. With Maggie, when disaster struck and he almost died, he bugged out for a second. This season is Glenn having been weathered, having gone through it and understanding that he is an important and vital person and he has to be a man an in order to do that. He needs to man up and that's what he does: he doesn't cower in the face of disaster but puffs out.
How will things change for Maggie now that she's out of the confines of the farm?
Cohan: She continues protecting her family and brings Glenn into that fold. Right in the beginning of the season, they're going to be challenged immediately. The new family dynamic with the group being so small and in a new location is going to be very real and interesting because we have people who are in positions of authority -- as we see at the end of season two with Rick declaring that it's not a democracy -- that you question but still know that you have to trust. There's no division within this group; it's still a whole new family. For Maggie, it's that we've come this far already and that's all she really knows how to do.
Will Maggie step up up more? Andrea is MIA and the group doesn't have a strong viable female leader.
Cohan: We do see Maggie stepping up more in terms of the advice, support and force that she can provide. We definitely see a battle for Rick to maintain control for the group and to maintain strength for the group. It's very much like a real family: You know that people can make wrong decisions sometimes but it's always for the group's good at the forefront. Maggie is questioning and challenging it the whole time -- for the sake of protecting the group. She's very outspoken and goes out and does a lot of things by herself.
Maggie's evolving into more of an outspoken bad-ass. What will that mean for Glenn, who's pretty easygoing and non-confrontational?
Yeun: At first, that's a dynamic of the cowgirl and the meek kid. They come together and the greatest part of that relationship is the fact that they balance each other out. Where one is weak, the other is strong. It's not a Wonder Twins situation by any means but they're definitely there for each other and it really works.
How will Glenn 2.0 impact Rick? Will they be shocked by him saying no more often?
Yeun: That's the greatest part of this: You see what a new dynamic brings into the group and you see what outside threats bring into the group. Those outside threats also mess with the internal dynamics of the group and you'll see everything and everyone tested.
How will Glenn and Maggie be tested this year?
Yeun: When you have things to live for, those are the things that can be directly used against you to test you.
Cohan: We're going to see really great stuff where the bond that Maggie and Glenn have becomes a weakness for them and they're played against each other. As we know, the human threat is going to be very prevalent this year. We've seen that the bond gives them reason to live but it's also now going to challenge them and in some ways, make them weaker. But why would the rest of it be worth it if they didn't take that risk for each other. The fact that Glenn comes into the family, they have this symbiotic support: there are times where he really goes over the edge and she brings him back in and they learn what it takes to be a real couple. We're going to see a young couple in the apocalypse learning to be the most communicative, mature couple that they possibly can and that's a new lesson.
What comes between them? Is it a difference of opinion or is it an outside factor?
Cohan: It's going to be an outside factor and it's going to involve everybody. You're going to see a divide in what people think is the safest thing to do. It's friction the whole time and nothing really ever gets settled until there's death.
With the impending confrontation with the Governor (David Morrissey), how will Glenn respond to that?
Yeun: It's such an amazing arc how it all pans out. I can't spoil that.
Knowing what Glenn's fate in the 100th issue of the comics is, does that change the way you approach playing him?
Yeun: No, I just want to play what's truthful and honest. What's honest about Glenn is he's still a kid in that he's in his early 20s and yes, you grow up a bit faster, but you still have to make mistakes along the way to figure that out. I want to play that and see him flawed. Glenn has been painted in a different way: Maybe he's not painted in a completely subservient role and that's great but I also don't want him to be a perfect human being who isn't layered because that isn't interesting or realistic. Glenn is completely flawed as well.
Has there been any good-natured ribbing on the set about Glenn's death?
Yeun: (Laughs) I just wrote that letter to [Walking Dead creator/executive producer] Robert Kirkman (in the comics) and he wrote right back. We might keep that going. I told him I was going to send write to Letter Hacks. I wrote, "Dear Mr. Kirkman, I hope this letter finds you well." That was the first two lines I got out, then I thought, "No I don't." And from there I just went with it and wrote, "Actually I hope this letter finds you with Tuberculosis," which is a pretty terrible thing (laughs). I would assume that he'd write back but what he did write back was hilarious. You should watch out for something back, it might not be issue by issue but we'll see what happens.
What did you think of Glenn's death in the comics?
Yeun: It was crazy. But that's an awesome way to go: unexpected, impactful and just disturbing. It bled off the page, even the way Glenn says, "Maggie," just bounced off the page.
What are you looking forward to seeing for Glenn and Maggie? Hit the comments with your thoughts. The Walking Dead season three premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC. Check back to THR's The Live Feed every day this week for the Seven Days of The Walking Dead preview.
- Steven Yeun
- Lauren Cohan