Lauren Cohan unceremoniously left The Walking Dead back in November during the same episode that Andrew Lincoln permanently left the series (though, he will return in a series of movies). Cohan’s character Maggie, as we discovered after the time jump, decided to leave The Hilltop and join Georgie in another community, possibly The Commonwealth, after some apparent bad blood between her and Michonne.
Cohen’s exit, however, was open-ended, meaning that she wasn’t killed off of the series and the door was left open for her return. In fact, showrunner Angela Kang is moving ahead with season 10 of the series under the assumption that Cohan will return, telling Comicbook.com, “We will hopefully come back to Maggie’s story in Season 10. Lauren and I have been texting about some things, and we’re hopefully gonna schedule a conversation, but Georgie’s group is definitely out there in world doing some stuff, and I have some notion of what they’re up to.”
Lauren Cohan’s return, however, may have hit a snag, although a snag that Lauren Cohen will obviously appreciate. When contract negotiations between Lauren Cohan and AMC broke down last year, Cohen decided to take offers to do other series and eventually landed the co-lead in the action-comedy Whiskey Cavalier along with Scott Foley (Felicity, Scandal). Given the failure rate of freshman series — about 60 percent — the prospects for Cohan’s return seemed a better bet than not. If Cavalier stumbles and is cancelled, Cohan will be free to return to The Walking Dead on a full-time basis.
However, Whiskey Cavalier has recently received a massive boost of faith from ABC, after it decided to schedule a preview of the series after the Oscars, typically the second-highest rated program of the year (after only the Super Bowl) and rebroadcast the pilot again in its regular Wednesday timeslot on February 27th. ABC has never aired a scripted program after the Oscars before, and because ABC is not among the networks that air the Super Bowl, it’s essentially the network’s biggest launching pad. Clearly, they believe that Whiskey Cavalier can be a huge hit for the network.
The increased prospects of success and renewal for Whiskey Cavalier doesn’t necessarily rule out a return to The Walking Dead for Lauren Cohan. Production on The Walking Dead goes from May until November, while production on Whiskey Cavalier as a midseason replacement would typically begin in September. However, if Whiskey Cavalier gets a major boost from the Oscars and snowballs until a huge hit for ABC, it could return in the fall, which means production could ramp up on the series soon, creating an insurmountable scheduling conflict for Cohen and The Walking Dead.
In other words, while airing after the Oscars is great news for Lauren Cohan and Whiskey Cavalier, it could put a major damper on her return to The Walking Dead. The upside, however, is that if Whiskey Cavalier does well, it creates a long-lasting new job not just for Cohen but another The Walking Dead alum, Tyler James Williams, who is also a regular on the series.