We've all been focusing on Andrew Lincoln's exit from The Walking Dead in Season 9, but Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie on AMC's zombie drama, is also departing... at least for now. Shortly after that news broke, Cohan said that her "Walking Dead story is open, it's not finished," fueling speculation that her exit would not be permanent and Maggie would not be killed off. And now new showrunner Angela Kang has confirmed it. Kang was unusually forthright with reporters during a set visit last week about the show's intention to bring Cohan back in Season 1o.
"We still plan to tell more story with Maggie," Kang said. "Lauren wants to. It will just be subject to her schedule. But hopefully we have her back next season."
Cohan is the lead in an ABC midseason show called Whiskey Cavalier, so her future Walking Dead appearance(s) will have to work around that. Before she left for that show, though, she did some episodes for Season 9 that will continue the story of her leadership of the Hilltop and her clash with Rick Grimes (Lincoln) over management style.
"We had always planned to have this great story with Maggie this season," Kang said. "I think we promised something, and we wanted to pay off that promise. We definitely have a very strong Maggie arc. Lauren, I think, who has always been such a great actress for us, has done some spectacular work this season."
Kang said that in crafting Maggie's exit, she and the other writers wanted to do right by the character while also leaving room in the story for big changes to come. "It opens up some interesting opportunities for other characters when that character is gone for reasons that are explained in the story. That's part of the story going forward, like 'what's happening at Hilltop and how do people deal with Maggie not being there?'"
When and how exactly Maggie will leave will be revealed during Season 9.
The Walking Dead premieres Sunday, Oct. 7 at 9/8c on AMC.