Did Lauren Cohan Quit ‘The Walking Dead’ Because She Wasn’t Getting Paid Enough?
Andrew Lincoln’s exit from The Walking Dead rocked fans of the popular AMC show, but Sheriff Rick Grimes isn’t the only main cast member on their way out. Lauren Cohan (Maggie Rhee) has also left the show.
Cohan has been a cast member on The Walking Dead since Season 2. But after Season 8, contract disputes put her future on the series in jeopardy. Find out the real reason why Lauren Cohan quit The Walking Dead, and whether there’s any chance her character might return to the show. (Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead, Season 9 episode “Stradivarius.”)
Lauren Cohan and AMC couldn’t agree on her salary
Earlier in 2018, rumors started to fly that Season 8 of The Walking Dead would be Cohan’s last. Her contract was up, and the actress was reportedly fighting with AMC over her salary.
Cohan wasn’t seeking to be paid as much as Lincoln and Norman Reedus, the zombie-themed show’s two biggest stars, according to the Hollywood Reporter. (Reedus makes $1 million an episode.) According to some, AMC was low-balling Cohan on her salary. In any case, it took quite a bit of negotiating to read a deal that worked for both Cohan and the network. Eventually, she agreed to appear in just 6 episodes in the first half of Season 9.
In the meantime, Cohan signed on as the female lead on ABC’s new series Whiskey Cavalier. In interviews, she’s said she’s ready to move on from The Walking Dead. “It’s time for me to explore comedy and happier fare,” she told Andy Cohen in July.
Could Maggie come back to The Walking Dead?
Maggie’s departure didn’t get as much hype as Rick’s dramatic exit via helicopter in “What Comes After.” But showrunner Angela Kang confirmed that Maggie won’t be seen in any more episodes of Season 9. However, that doesn’t mean she couldn’t come back in the future.
“We’ve been talking to Lauren and hopefully we’ll get to tell more story for her,” Kang told the Hollywood Reporter. “We definitely have some things up our sleeve that we’d love to do. A lot of that is just a scheduling conversation, so hopefully that will all work out, because I think mutually we would like to continue with Maggie’s story, for sure.”
Right now, it’s not clear exactly where Maggie is, but we do know she’s left Hilltop with her son. She’s not seen in “Stradivarius,” which is set six years after Rick’s apparent death. But viewers do learn she’s joined a new community, possibly with Georgie (Jayne Atkinson). That leaves open the possibility that Maggie could show up again in a future episode of The Walking Dead.
Will we see Maggie in The Walking Dead movies?
What about the other big character departure this season? While Rick Grimes will be absent from future episodes of The Walking Dead, the character will live on. Lincoln will reprise his role in three feature-length movies for AMC that will begin production in 2019. Details are sketchy, but the films will reveal what happens to Rick after he’s rescued after nearly dying during the bridge explosion in “What Comes After” and is flown away by a mysterious helicopter.
Whether Maggie pops up in any of the Rick Grimes spin-off movies remains to be seen. But The Walking Dead’s chief content officer Scott Gimple did say in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that a standalone Maggie movie could happen.
A Maggie movie “is absolutely a possibility,” Gimple said. “We have a lot of story for her that we want to tackle and we’ve talked about different ways we can do it.”
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