Update: Lauren Cohan explains why she's leaving The Walking Dead in season 9.
Lauren Cohan says her upcoming exit from AMC's The Walking Dead won't result in her character, Maggie Rhee, dying. Without getting into too many specifics, Cohan teased her character's unique fate, and her possible future with the show. The actress, along with series lead Andrew Lincoln, is set to depart during season 9.
Fans of The Walking Dead were nervous when Cohan took longer than her co-stars when renegotiating her season 9 contract. Despite her describing the contract dispute as "standard business practice," viewers were anxious that the disagreement meant less of Maggie in the coming seasons. And they were right. Cohan is only set to appear in six episodes in the first half of the season, and will then leave the series in favor of her new ABC show Whiskey Cavalier.
Cohan revealed the new details concerning to exit during an interview with GameSpot. Surprisingly, Cohan revealed that Maggie will not be killed off in Season 9, as most fans believed she would be. According to Cohan, her character's fate will be left open-ended. Cohan didn't go into specifics as to how Maggie would leave the series without being killed off. She did compare the open-ended exit to her own time on the show, believing it was the most respectful way to do justice to her experience on The Walking Dead, as it'll always be with her. "It never leaves me. It will never, ever leave me," she said.
Interestingly, Lincoln has also implied a possible deathless departure for his character, Rick Grimes. While he didn't outright reveal Rick's survival, Lincoln did imply that the former cop could come out of the apocalypse alive. While speaking at a conference at last month's San Diego Comic-Con, Lincoln noted that Rick could certainly die as many before him have, but that there were other options, using Morgan's (Lennie James) transfer to Fear the Walking Dead as an example. He then promised that however his character left the show, it was going to be quite special.
Were it a single character leaving, it would be much simpler to deduce AMC's plans for their soon to be revised cast. Michonne, for example, frequently abandons the survivors in the comic book series. She prefers to live on her own for long stretches of time, and eventually chooses to live in Oceanside. Maggie could easily assimilate herself into that group, giving her a tidy exit with an open narrative that could bring her back at any time. But explaining an open end for both Maggie and Rick seems unlikely. Producer Scott Gimple has previously hinted at big news on the horizon, and Lincoln's reference to Fear does indicate he would be open to continuing the story on the spinoff at some point. Still, it would seem out of character for Rick to just abandon Michonne, no matter how distraught he is over Carl's death. Whatever happens, season 9 is going to be quite interesting.
The Walking Dead season 9 premieres October 7 on AMC.