As AMC continues to consistently kill off major The Walking Dead characters during premieres and finales, there aren’t a lot of central cast members left from the early seasons. That’s probably to be expected in a zombie apocalypse where one nibble from the undead spells certain doom. But following the imminent exit of season-one alum Carl after one of those aforementioned bites, some fans are wondering whether The Walking Dead isn’t getting rid of too many key characters.
If you happen to be one of those people, this news isn’t going to be received very well. Lauren Cohan, who has played series favorite Maggie Greene since season two, may be the next to leave as Deadline reports contract negotiations between the actress and AMC have stalled. Things came to a head when Cohan demanded pay equity on par with what male co-stars Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) and Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) make.
I hear the network did not follow up with a new proposition and there have been no further talks. Cohan, who is contractually free and clear to entertain new offers, has been doing that, with her availability igniting a feeding frenzy in the form of a string of offers from multiple networks. She reportedly has been engaging, taking pilot meetings. According to other sources close to the situation, there are active talks with Cohan who has not indicated that she would not be coming back for Season 9, which already has been greenlighted.
Cohan is being touted as one of the hottest actors on the market for upcoming pilots, something that isn’t going to make a return to The Walking Dead cheap for the historically budget-conscious AMC network. Considering negotiations are ongoing and season 8 has wrapped filming, it seems unlikely (barring reshoots) that Cohan’s character Maggie will be killed off just yet. But depending on how the show deals with current villain Negan’s fate, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see Maggie depart rather than live in a community that denies her vengeance for her husband Glenn’s grisly death.
That would be a pretty big loss for a show that’s already getting thin on early cast members. Norman Reedus commented on the situation shortly after it was revealed that Carl isn’t long for this world, telling Entertainment Weekly “The people that started this show, to me, are the heart of the show.”
“When you lose those key members, it’s such a big blow to the show, and to the fans, and to us that are there,” he continued. “Who’s left? There’s only a few of us left out of all those people. If you wanted to turn it into a totally different show, you get rid of those people. But if you want to hold onto what made the show special, you’ve got to be very careful what you do with those people.”
But with The Walking Dead turning its cast into stars and the offers for other movie and show projects only increasing, losing more and more of those key members may be inevitable.