While The Walking Dead fans were primed and prepared for Andrew Lincoln’s exit from the show, it was substantially more difficult to say goodbye to Lauren Cohan’s Maggie Rhee. As it turns out, she left the series during the same episode.
Of course, season 9’s big surprise so far has been the six-year time jump, which has substantially shaken up the status quo among the survivors. During this time, Tom Payne’s Jesus (who’s now also dead) became the Hilltop’s leader, while Maggie has been missing for some time along with her son Hershel.
Her being mysteriously absent rather than torn apart by walkers or murdered by other survivors naturally means that she might one day return to the show and, in a statement read on Talking Dead, series showrunner Angela Kang and AMC executive Scott Gimple explained that this isn’t the end of the character.
“Maggie’s last episode this season was 905, But it isn’t the end of Maggie’s story. We love Lauren Cohan and hope to have her back on the big program and or beyond, and we have built a story to service that.”
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If you’ve been following The Walking Dead backstage gossip, you’ll probably have realized that this departure, allowing her to return in the future if possible, wasn’t purely an artistic decision. In the run-up to season 9, pay negotiations broke down between Cohan and AMC, which resulted in her choosing to star in ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier, where she’s top of the bill. Still, the door remains open for her to return.
In fact, in an interview with ComicBook.com, Kang explained that she’d love to figure out a way for her to return in season 10:
“I hope it’ll work. We’ll cross that bridge. Lauren and I have had conversations, and she’s excited to come back, even if it’s not for a full season. We can work with that. That’s scheduling problems. We’ll figure out the story. She’s great. We have a great relationship, and she still loves the show. Sometimes our actors need to spread their wings a little bit. We get that.”
It’d be neat to see why Maggie left the group, how Hershel has grown up and what the hell she’s been doing all this time. But when – and even if – she’ll return to The Walking Dead currently remains unclear. Still, it’s nice to hear that her story has been left open and with any luck, she’ll be back before long.