SPOILER WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for the latest episode of The Walking Dead. You’ve been warned!
The Walking Dead just lost its main character in Rick Grimes, so it’s understandable that most of the reaction to Episode 5 has been on that loss. Plus, Andrew Lincoln’s Rick is getting his own spinoff movies. Buried amid all of that was the news that we also just lost Lauren Cohan’s Maggie Greene-Rhee — at least for now. Showrunner Angela Kang revealed we won’t see more Maggie in Season 9’s new time jump.
As Angela Kang put it, we won’t be seeing Maggie in the new six-years-later world of Season 9. Does that mean we won’t see her now 7-ish-year-old son, Hershel Rhee? We have to assume she took him with her. Sheesh. We didn’t get to see his birth, and now we may not get to see his childhood.
Where did Maggie go? To find Georgie? Is Jesus running Hilltop? Maggie’s departure is a huge question mark at this point, and AMC has to hope that viewers tune in to try and get some answers.
Maggie’s story is taking a break mostly because actress Lauren Cohan is stepping away from The Walking Dead for her new ABC series Whiskey Cavalier. This is also tied in part to her contract negotiations for the AMC series. She also said she just wanted a break after eight years on the show, having started on the Greene family farm in Season 2.
But there is hope that she might return next year and beyond. AMC programming president David Madden shared those hopes with THR:
So much of this does depend on the success of Whiskey Cavalier. If it’s a hit for ABC, and quickly earns a Season 2 renewal, that may rule out Maggie’s return.
Lauren Cohan spoke on that herself in a post-Episode 5 interview with Entertainment Weekly. They had asked if she would be able to juggle both Whiskey Cavalier and The Walking Dead — plus her film career — or would she have to make that decision later.
Lauren Cohan did at least confirm that she’s had creative story conversations about what could happen with Maggie if she does return. But it’s all up in the air.
That said, these are pretty exciting times for the world of The Walking Dead. Overall Walking Dead content boss Scott M. Gimple revealed multiple ways the franchise is expanding moving forward. That’s all in addition to those TV movies for Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes.
The Walking Dead Season 9 continues with new characters, but without Rick and Maggie, Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on AMC.