The chances of Lauren Cohan returning for season 9 of The Walking Dead are looking slimmer than ever, as the actress has signed on to star in a new ABC TV show pilot, Whiskey Cavalier.
Though Lauren Cohan's Maggie has grown into one of The Walking Dead's strongest characters, fans began to worry when it was reported earlier this month that Cohan has received multiple pilot offers from various networks, and could depart the show after season 8 when her contract expires. Cohan reportedly wanted her salary to be closer to her male co-stars, Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus, but AMC was unwilling to meet her demands. Fans were able to breathe easier once it was reported that Cohan was in "active negotiations" to return for season 9.
TVLine reports that Cohan is attached to Whiskey Cavalier, an action-dramedy pilot from ABC. Cohan will play the female lead opposite Scandal's Scott Foley. Produced by Bill Lawrence, Foley's character is an FBI agent who has to work with a "quick and cunning" CIA operative (played by Cohan) to lead an inter-agency team of spies to save the world while "navigating the rocky roads of friendship, romance, and office politics."
The Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple says he's "incredibly hopeful" that Cohan and AMC will be able to work out another deal, but he acknowledged that her departure is a possibility. "These things do happen in TV," Gimple said.
If Maggie were to be written out of the show or killed off, it would be a major blow to fans. Maggie's husband, Glenn (Steven Yuen), who had been on the show since the beginning, was brutally murdered by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in the season 7 premiere. Maggie was devastated, but his death made her stronger. Maggie usurped Gregory (Xander Berkeley) as leader of the Hilltop and is on a "path of vengeance" against Negan and the Saviors. With Carl, another mainstay of the group, on his way out, it's understandable why AMC would want to hold on to Maggie for a while longer.
The news certainly raises alarms for The Walking Dead fans, as it increases the unlikelihood of Maggie's return. However, it doesn't make Cohan's exit from the series a certainty. Whiskey Cavalier is only in the pilot stage and may not be ordered to series. Cohan's future on The Walking Dead will become more plain when ABC announces its fall lineup.
The Walking Dead returns Sunday, February 25 at 9pm ET on AMC.