Hot on the heels of last week’s news that Andrew Lincoln would be leaving The Walking Dead, it appears that another major character of the show won’t be returning midway through season 9. Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie Greene, recently signed up to be the leading actress for a new ABC series Whiskey Cavalier, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter – following struggles with AMC to agree on a new contract with The Walking Dead. So what does this mean for fans? It certainly sounds like there’s bad rumblings from behind-the-scenes of the popular TV show, and I’m not just talking about the choked gurgling noises from the shambling corpses.
I think Lauren Cohan has made the right decision to leave. There’s many reasons why, and I’m not just referring to the quality drop of the show itself – there’s lots of factors to consider here. Firstly, she’s been on the The Walking Dead since season 2 – that’s seven years working as the same character. It’s a long time to be anchored in one place, and she may well be feeling the itch to try on some clothes that haven’t been spattered with zombie blood. There’s also the reasoning that her character arc may have reached a certain crescendo – during the earlier seasons she provided an emotional narrative with Glenn, and although she may be the leader of the Hilltop and mothered a child since his death (come on, if you’re not aware of that by now you wouldn’t be reading this, right?) but she’s become very underutilized as late. Rick, Daryl, Eugene, Carol, Carl and Michonne have all had much larger roles during the last season, so it’s not terribly motivating for an audience member to stick around with a character that’s having a child and looking after a survivor compound.
When we last saw her, it seemed that Maggie may be breaking bad though – her reasoning to kill Negan could lead a schism within the group which could ultimately turn the survivors against each other, but we’ll have to wait until the fall to find out.
The Walking Dead returns for its 9th season this fall on AMC. As for the final fate of our characters, only time will tell.