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Is Lauren Cohan Leaving The Walking Dead?

Cohan is reportedly in high demand this pilot season

Liam Mathews

When The Walking Dead picks back up for Season 9, there's a chance it could be without Lauren Cohan.

Deadline reports that Cohan, who has played Maggie on AMC's megahit thriller since 2011 and whose contract is up at the end of Season 8, has received numerous pilot offers for the 2018 broadcast season -- and she's exploring them.

Deadline has received conflicting reports about whether or not Cohan is actively negotiating a new contract with AMC. She was reportedly offered a modest salary increase for a new long-term contract, which she rejected. According to the trade, the actress was seeking pay parity with her top-billed co-stars Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus, though that was not a make-or-break proposition, as Lincoln and Reedus joined the show before her and appear in more scenes.

Cohan has emerged as a fan favorite and capable performer over her time on the series, and has started to branch out into high-profile movie roles, appearing in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Her exit would be a blow to the show, since Maggie is currently in the midst of an important arc where she's evolving into one of the survivors' smartest and most beloved leaders. Plus she's pregnant, and leaving after Season 8 would deprive fans of the resolution to a storyline that will have been in progress for three years by the time Season 9 premieres. Maggie is the show's future, and AMC would be wise to retain Cohan.

Lauren Cohan, The Walking Dead

Lauren Cohan, The Walking Dead

Gene Page/AMC

If Cohan does leave for a starring role, she would be following in the footsteps of Sonequa Martin-Green, who left The Walking Dead last year for top billing on Star Trek: Discovery. Martin-Green andThe Punisher's Jon Bernthal have proven that The Walking Dead alumni can lead their own shows.

So we'll see what happens. If Cohan signs onto a pilot that gets picked up to series, Maggie's a goner.

The Walking Dead Season 8 returns Sunday, Feb. 25 at 9/8c on AMC.