WARNING: This post contains The Walking Dead spoilers
Update: Lauren Cohan explains why she's leaving The Walking Dead in season 9.
While fans of The Walking Dead are still reeling from season 8's finale they can breathe a bit easier knowing that one of their favorite series regulars will officially be returning for season 9. Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie 'The Widow' Greene on the hit AMC show has confirmed that she will be back next season.
Cohan's return is cause for fans of the show to celebrate after her future with the franchise was uncertain over the past few months. With her contract up at the end of season 8, Cohan was reportedly negotiating to be paid equal to her male counterparts Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus. Cohan even found public support from fellow Walking Dead castmember Khary Payton, who posted a photo of the actress on his Instagram page with the caption, 'pay the woman.' Fans became increasingly nervous that Cohan wouldn't return to the Walking Dead universe after she signed on to star in a new ABC TV show pilot, Whiskey Cavalier.
Cohan finally put the rumors of her departure to rest at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Tuesday night when she confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that she will be returning to The Walking Dead for season 9. “I’m going back,” Cohan said. “There’s a lot more Maggie story to tell.” As for what viewers can expect? “You know we’re not allowed to tell you anything, but it’s good,” the actress went on to tease. Details of Cohan's contract have not been released, including whether she'll continue to be a series regular or take on a lesser role, but the status of Whiskey Cavalier is still uncertain.
In the season 8 finale we finally saw Rick and Negan face each other in what viewers thought would be a battle to the death. Rick gained the upper hand after slicing Negan's throat, but decided to have new resident doctor Siddiq save him instead of letting him die. This did not go over well with Maggie who was determined to see Negan die. At the end of the episode we saw how The Widow plans to get her revenge on Rick for not ending the man who brutally beat her husband to death.
With the finale of season 8 promising a lot of tension and a possible civil war between Maggie and Rick in season 9, it's not surprising that AMC did what they could to lock down Cohan and secure her contract. Cohan, who joined the cast in season two, quickly became a fan favorite for her no nonsense attitude and her marriage to fellow fan fave Glenn Rhee. With so much of the focus in season 8 being on Negan and the Saviors, fans hope to see Maggie getting more screen time as she challenges Rick's decision to keep Negan alive when season 9 premieres.
Season 9 begins filming soon with former writer and executive producer Angela Kang taking over showrunner responsibilities from Scott Gimple, who has been promoted to a new position that oversees all Walking Dead related content. It will definitely be interesting to see what direction Cohan's character takes now that she's committed to returning, as Maggie seems ready to challenge Rick for leadership.